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October, 1912 — June, 1913 
Volume XLVI 

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John Wilson and Son, Cambridge. 




Adams, Charles Francis 

Course of Historical Events 2 

Tribute to W. W. Goodwin 11 

Negotiation of 1861 on Declaration of Paris 23 

Tribute to James M. Bugbee 305 

Sectional Feeling in 1861 306 

To Winslow Warren 409 

The Winthrop History 427 

Oxford Course of American Lectures 432 

Adams, John 

To Charles Cushing, 1756 410 

Adams Collection of Medals, Coins, etc 339 

Allen, Gardner Weld 

State Navies and Privateers in the Revolution 179 

Annual Meeting, 19 13 

Council 383 

Treasurer 386 

Librarian . ; 394 

Cabinet- Keeper 395 

Committee on Library and Cabinet 396 

Officers 399 

Baylies Papers, 1821-1831 320 

Letters from Elijah Howard & Co. (182 1), William Cole- 
man (1828), Gillian C. Verplanck (1828-1829), 
Jeromus Johnson (1828), John McKee (1828), John 
E. Wool (1828-1829), Francis Baylies (1829), S. H. 
Jenks (1830), John C. Hamilton (1830), and Eliza- 
beth Hamilton (183 1). 

Belcher, Jonathan, Pollard on, 1740 164 

Bright, John 

Letters to Charles Sumner, 1 861-187 2 93 

Brooks' Assault upon Charles Sumner 486 




Bugbee, James McKellar 

Tribute to 305 

Memoir 373 

Byles, Mather, watch of 249 

Campbell, Donald 

To John Hancock, 1787 315 

Canning, George 

To Charles Richard Vaughan, 1826 233 

Chadwick, French Ensor 

The American Navy, 1775-1815 191 


Nominating 340 

Treasurer's Accounts 341 

On Library and Cabinet 341 

House 401 

Finance 401 

Publishing 'Proceedings' 401 

Declaration of Paris, 1856, negotiation of 1861 23 

Eliot, Charles William 

Tribute to W. W. Goodwin 15 

Endicott, William 

Reminiscences of Seventy-five Years 208 

Fiske, John 

Memoir 167 

Fogg, Jeremiah 

To William Parker, 1 781 484 

Ford, Worthington Chauncey 

Letters of Marque, 1863 81 

Manuscripts on American History in England 475 

Goodwin, William Watson 

Tribute by C. F. Adams '. . . . n 

S. A. Green 13 

C.W.Eliot 15 

Green, Samuel Abbott 

Tribute to W. W. Goodwin 13 

Andrew Hunter Papers 143 

Bust of John Pierce 380 

Hale, Salma, Papers 402 

Hamilton, Alexander, and Marshall 412 



Hillyer, Junius 

To Howell Cobb, 1856 486 

Hooker, Thomas 

Farewell Sermon in England 253 

Hunter, Andrew, Papers, 1 859-1 861 243 

Letters from Andrew Hunter (1859), James Buchanan 
(1859), Richard Parker (1859), Alexander R. 
Boteler (1861), Henry A. Wise (1861), and Judah P. 
Benjamin (1861) 

John Fiske Frontispiece 

James McKellar Bugbee 373 

Index 491 


Petitions for release, 1796 235 

Lamar, Gazaway B. 

To Howell Cobb, 1856 . 487 

Lawson, Christopher 

Petition, 1669 479 

Letters of Marque, 1863 81 

Long, John Davis 

The Civil War . 175 

Lord, Arthur 

Report of Treasurer . . 386 

MacDonald, William 

The Indebtedness of John Marshall to Alexander 

Hamilton 412 

Manuscripts, English, on American History 475 

Marshall, John, and Hamilton 412 


Questions of the Elders, 1637 275 

The Negative Vote, 1643 276 

Patent 285 

Colonial Customs Service 440 

Mead, Edwin Doak 

Thomas Hooker's Farewell Sermon in England 253 

Medals in the Society 303 

Adams Collection 339 

Members oe the Society 

Resident xii 



Corresponding xiv 

Honorary xiv 

Deceased, 1912-13 xvi 

Changes, 1912-13 382 

Negative Vote in Massachusetts Colony 276 

Norcross, Grenville Howland 

Southern Newspapers on Wall-paper 241 

Officers of Society, 1913 . . 399 

Oxford University, American Lectures 432 

Pierce, John 

Bust 380 

Pollard, Benjamin 

Statement on Belcher, 1740 164 

President, Development of Power 85 

Questions of the Elders, 1637 275 

Revolution, American 

State Navies and Privateers 179 

The American Navy, 1775-1815 191 

Russell, William Howard 

State of South Carolina, 1861 310 

Sectional Feeling in 1861 306 

Southern Newspapers on Wall-paper 241 

Stanwood, Edward 

Development under the Constitution of the President's 

Power 85 

Memoir of J. M. Bugbee 373 

Stimson, Jeremy 

Diary 250 

Storer, Malcolm 

Medal Collection of the Society 303 

Sumner, Charles 

Letters from John Bright 93 

Brooks' Assault upon 486 

Sumner, George 

Letters, 1837-1844 . . ■ 341 

Thayer, William Roscoe 

Memoir of John Fiske 167 

Thomas, David 

Letter, 1789 370 




Toombs, Robert 

To G. W. Crawford, 1856 487 

Treasurer's Report 386 


To W. W. Goodwin 11 

James M. Bugbee 305 

United States 

The Civil War 175 

Warren, John Collins 

Watch of Mather Byles 249 

Warren, Winslow 

Salma Hale Papers 402 

The Colonial Customs Service in Massachusetts in its 

Relation to the American Revolution 440 

Webster, Daniel 

Letter to Isaac L. Hedge, 1836 275 

Winthrop, John, " History " 427 



Corresponding xiv 

Honorary xiv 

Deceased, 1912-13 xvi 

Changes, 1912-13 382 

Negative Vote in Massachusetts Colony 276 

Norcross, Grenville Howland 

Southern Newspapers on Wall-paper 241 

Officers of Society, 1913 ■ . . 399 

Oxford University, American Lectures 432 

Pierce, John 

Bust 380 

Pollard, Benjamin 

Statement on Belcher, 1740 164 

President, Development of Power 85 

Questions of the Elders, 1637 275 

Revolution, American 

State Navies and Privateers 179 

The American Navy, 1775-1815 191 

Russell, William Howard 

State of South Carolina, 1861 310 

Sectional Feeling in 1861 306 

Southern Newspapers on Wall-paper 241 

Stanwood, Edward 

Development under the Constitution of the President's 

Power 85 

Memoir of J. M. Bugbee 373 

Stimson, Jeremy 

Diary 250 

Storer, Malcolm 

Medal Collection of the Society 303 

Sumner, Charles 

Letters from John Bright 93 

Brooks' Assault upon 486 

Sumner, George 

Letters, 1837-1844 . 341 

Thayer, William Roscoe 

Memoir of John Fiske . . '.'... 167 

Thomas, David 

Letter, 1789 370 




Toombs, Robert 

To G. W. Crawford, 1856 487 

Treasurer's Report 386 


To W. W. Goodwin 11 

James M. Bugbee 305 

United States 

The Civil War 175 

Warren, John Collins 

Watch of Mather Byles 249 

Warren, Winslow 

Salma Hale Papers 402 

The Colonial Customs Service in Massachusetts in its 

Relation to the American Revolution 440 

Webster, Daniel 

Letter to Isaac L. Hedge, 1836 275 

Winthrop, John, " History " 427 




April io, 1913. 





Sfocortimg Secretarg 

Corngspontimg j&rcrttarg 

ARTHUR LORD Plymouth. 




ifitemfars at Harge of tije Council 







Hon. Samuel Abbott Green, LL.D. 

Charles Card Smith, A.M. 

Abner Cheney Goodell, A.M. 

Hon. Winslow Warren, LL.B. 
Charles William Eliot, LL.D. 

Charles Francis Adams, LL.D. 

Hon. Henry Cabot Lodge, LL.D. 

John Torrey Morse, Jr., Litt.D. 

Rev. Henry Fitch Jenks, A.M. 
Rev. Alexander McKenzie, D.D. 

Arthur Lord, A.B. 

Frederic Ward Putnam, S.D. 

Edward Channing, Ph.D. 

Edwin Pliny Seaver, A.M. 

Albert Bushnell Hart, LL.D. 
Thornton Kirkland Lothrop, LL.B. 


Henry Fitz-Gilbert Waters, A.M. 
Abbott Lawrence Lowell, LL.D. 

1 891. 

Hon. Oliver Wendell Holmes, LL.D. 
Henry Pickering Walcott, LL.D. 


Hon. Charles Russell Codman, LL.B. 
Barrett Wendell, Litt.D. 
James Ford Rhodes, LL.D. 


Hon. Edward Francis Johnson, LL.B. 
Rt. Rev. William Lawrence, D.D. 
William Roscoe Thayer, Litt.D. 


Hon.Thomas Jefferson Coolidge, LL.D. 
Hon. William Wallace Crapo, LL.D. 

Granville Stanley Hall, LL.D. 


Rev. Leverett Wilson Spring, D.D. 
Col. William Roscoe Livermore. 
Hon. Richard Olney, LL.D. 
Lucien Carr, A.M. 



Rev. George Angier Gordon, D.D. 
John Chipman Gray, LL.D. 
Rev. James DeNormandie, D.D. 
Andrew McFarland Davis, A.M. 


Archibald Cary Coolidge, Ph.D. 
Charles Pickering Bowditch, A.M. 

Melville Madison Bigelow, LL.D. 


Thomas Leonard Livermore, A.M. 
Nathaniel Paine, A.M. 
John Osborne Sumner, A.B. 
Arthur Theodore Lyman, A.M. 


Henry Lee Higginson, LL.D. 
Brooks Adams, A.B. 
Grenville Howland Norcross, LL.B. 
Edward Hooker Gilbert, A.B. 


Franklin Benjamin Sanborn, A.B. 
Charles Knowles Bolton, A.B. 
Samuel Savage Shaw, LL.B. 
Ephraim Emerton, Ph.D. 
Waldo Lincoln, A.B. 
Frederic Jesup Stimson, LL.B. 
Edward Stanwood, Litt.D. 
Moorfield Storey, A.M. 


Thomas Minns, Esq. 

Roger Bigelow Merriman, Ph.D. 

Charles Homer Haskins, Litt.D. 


Hon. John Davis Long, LL.D. 
Don Gleason Hill, A.M. 
Theodore Clarke Smith, Ph.D. 
Henry Greenleaf Pearson, A.B. 
Bliss Perry, LL.D. 

Edwin Doak Mead, A.M. 
Edward Henry Clement, Litt.D. 
William Endicott, A.M. 
Lindsay Swift, A.B. 
Hon. George Sheldon. 
Mark Antony DeWolfe Howe, A.M. 
Arnold Augustus Rand, Esq. 

Jonathan Smith, A.B. 
Albert Matthews, A.B. 
William Vail Kellen, LL.D. 

Frederic Winthrop, A.B. 
Hon. Robert Samuel Rantoul, LL.B. 
George Lyman Kittredge, LL.D. 
Charles Pelham Greenough, LL.B. 
Henry Ernest Woods, A.M. 

Worthington Chauncey Ford, A.M. 
William Coolidge Lane, A.B. 

Hon. Samuel Walker McCall, LL.D. 
John Collins Warren, M.D., LL.D. 
Harold Murdock, Esq. 
Henry Morton Lovering, A.M. 
Edward Waldo Emerson, M.D. 
Hon. Curtis Guild, LL.D. 
Frederick Jackson Turner, Litt.D. 
Gardner Weld Allen, M.D. 

Henry Herbert Edes, A.M. 
George Hubbard Blakeslee, Ph.D. 
George Hodges, LL.D. 
Richard Henry Dana, LL.B. 
George Foot Moore, LL.D. 
Gamaliel Bradford, Jr., Esq. 
Justin Harvey Smith, LL.D. 

John Spencer Bassett, Ph.D. 
Malcolm Storer, M.D. 
Edwin Francis Gay, Ph.D. 

Reginald Heber Fitz, M.D.,LL.D. 



Rt. Hon. James Bryce, D.C.L. 


Rt. Hon. Sir George Otto Trevelyan, 
Bart., D.C.L. 

Pasquale Villari, D.C.L. 


Adolf Harnack, D.D. 

Rt. Hon. Viscount Morley, D.C.L. 

Ernest Lavisse. 


Rear-Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, 


Henry Adams, LL.D. 

Eduard Meyer, Litt.D. 

Hon. Andrew Dickson White, D.C.L. 


Hubert Howe Bancroft, A.M. 


Joseph Florimond Loubat, LL.D. 
Charles Henry Hart, LL.B 

Franklin Bowditch Dexter, Litt.D. 

Rev. Charles Richmond Weld, LL.D. 

Hon. James Burrill Angell, LL.D. 


Hon. Woodrow Wilson, LL.D. 
Hon. Joseph Hodges Choate, D.C.L. 

John Franklin Jameson, LL.D. 

Rev. William Cunningham, LL.D. 


Hon. Simeon Eben Baldwin, LL.D. 
John Bassett Moore, LL.D. 


Frederic Harrison, Litt.D. 
Frederic Bancroft, LL.D. 
Charles Harding Firth, LL.D. 
William James Ashley, M.A. 


John Bach McMaster, LL.D. 
Albert Venn Dicey, LL.D. 
Reuben Gold Thwaites, LL.D. 
John Christopher Schwab, Ph.D. 


Rev. Arthur Blake Ellis, LL.B. 

Auguste Moireau. 

Hon. Horace Davis, LL.D. 



Sir Sidney Lee, LL.D. 


William Archibald Dunning, LL.D. 
James Schouler, LL.D. 
George Parker Winship, A.M. 
Gabriel Hanotaux. 
Hubert HaU. 


Andrew Cunningham McLaughlin, 

Hon. Beekman Winthrop, LL.B. 


Hon. James Phinney Baxter, Litt.D. 
Wilberforce Eames, A.M. 
George Walter Prothero, LL.D. 
Hon. Jean Jules Jusserand, LL.D. 
James Kendall Hosmer, LL.D. 


John Bagnell Bury, LL.D. 
Rafael Altamira y Crevea. 

Hon. James Wilberforce Longley, 

Henry Morse Stephens, Litt.D. 
Charles Borgeaud, LL.D. 


Lyon Gardiner Tyler, LL.D. 
Clarence Bloomneld Moore, A.B. 


Edward Doubleday Harris, Esq. 


Charles William Chad wick Oman, 

Samuel Verplanck Hoffman, Esq. 
William Milligan Sloane, LL.D. 


Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, LL.D. 
Rear-Admiral French Ensor Chad- 
William MacDonald, LL.D. 


July, 1912 — June, 1913. 

1882, James McKellar Bugbee Feb. 8, 1913. 




THE stated meeting was held on Thursday, the 10th instant, 
at three o'clock, p. m. ; the President, Mr, Adams, in the 

The record of the last meeting was read and approved; and 
the Librarian reported the list of donors to the Library since 
the June meeting. 

The Cabinet-Keeper reported the gift, by bequest of Mary 
Ripley Goodwin, of an engraving of Washington by Ormsby 
from a painting by Stuart, and an engraving of the Declaration 
of Independence by Huntington; and by the Misses Sarah and 
Joanna Williams, of Yonkers, New York, of the field-glass and 
watch of their great-great-grandfather, Major- General John 

The Corresponding Secretary reported the receipt of a letter 
from Malcolm Storer accepting his election as a Resident 
Member of the Society. 

The Editor reported the gifts, by Mr. C. P. Bowditch, of 
papers on Young Men's Republican Parties, 1872-1880; by 
Dr. Loring W. Puffer, of a letter of Levi Woodbury, 1830; and 
by the Misses Sarah and Joanna Williams, of a regimental book 
belonging to Major-General Thomas, containing a list of offi- 
cers and soldiers in the Canada expedition of 1759. 

The Editor also mentioned the fact that it has been proposed 
to memorialize the General Court to begin the publication of 
the Massachusetts State Archives. In accordance with a vote 
of the Council recommending such action, it was voted that the 


subject be referred back to the Council, with power to authorize 
the President to sign the memorial in behalf of the Society. 

The Editor communicated a memoir of John Fiske, prepared 
by Mr. Thayer. 

The President then read as follows: 

Course of Historical Events. 

The activities of another year having begun, once more it 
devolves upon me to greet the Society at the close of a vaca- 
tion period. On the last similar occasion I ventured a novelty. 1 
Besides referring to incidents of interest which had occurred 
since the June meeting especially connected with the Society, 
I went afield, so to speak, calling attention to occurrences of 
possible future general historical interest, which had elsewhere 
likewise chanced. Of these there were four: (i) the parlia- 
mentary revolution worked in Great Britain through the wrest- 
ing of its legislative veto power from the House of Lords; 
(2) the practical birth of a new nationality of the English- 
speaking race on this continent through the action of the 
Dominion of Canada on President Taft's proposed mutual 
reciprocity enactments; (3) the prevailing world-wide industrial 
unrest, entering on a new and portentous phase in the general 
Union-labor strikes occurring in Great Britain, which had for 
a time threatened both to paralyze and to starve, if not revo- 
lutionize; and (4) the Morocco incident, so called, in the case 
of Germany confronted by the British-French alliance, paus- 
ing on the threshold of hostilities; thus revealing the exist- 
ence of an underlying financial force of a controlling influence 
never before appreciated, but then first exerted on Berlin at 
a highly critical international juncture. 

It is, I submit, somewhat suggestive of the rapidity of pace 
with which the world now moves that all the events then re- 
ferred to have receded into what may not improperly be de- 
nominated the historic past. Though events of yesterday, they 
to-day savor of ancient history. Reviewing, in the same way, 
the period elapsed since the Society last met, I this year feel 
somewhat at a loss to specify anything therein occurring which, 
to my mind, is likely hereafter to leave what may be called a 

1 Proceedings, xlv. 9-15. 


mark upon the page. Since June last, the world, of course, has 
moved; but the movement has not, so far as I am capable of 
now estimating the relative importance of events, been ac- 
companied by any incident peculiarly dramatic in character, 
or which, as we to-day see things, is likely to be writ large in 
history. In Europe the complications between Italy and 
Turkey have seemed slowly to be drawing to a conclusion; but 
what that conclusion may involve is as much a mystery now as 
when I last alluded to another phase of the same topic in a 
paper read by me to the Society fifteen years ago. 1 I then 
quoted the confident prediction of Cotton Mather made in 17 12 
as to "the approaching Fall of the Ottoman Empire." It was 
on the 29th of May, 1453, that Mahomet II took Constanti- 
nople by storm, and the curtain fell on the last scene of the final 
act of that particular world-drama known as Roman Empire. 
Next May will witness the passage of 460 full years since that 
very memorable occurrence. The British East India dominion, 
a corresponding counter-movement, dates from 161 2; and now, 
whatever may immediately occur, one thing is apparent, — 
there is a mighty seething of unrest — social, religious and 
political, deep-seated and irrepressible — at work in Europe, 
Africa and Asia. Of it the Morocco episode of a year ago and 
the Tripoli episode of this year were but symptoms and inci- 
dents. The final upheaval, whether in Constantinople, in 
Cairo or in Bombay, is yet to take place. History on the largest 
scale, will it be given to the youngest here to witness that 
denouement which Cotton Mather fondly anticipated it would 
be given unto him to rejoice over just two centuries ago? 

Meanwhile, we in this country have been engaged in the 
regular quadrennial political canvass, — one in some respects 
unique; but which does not, so far as yet appears, seem likely 
to be in any way epochal. 

In this room, as is well understood, what is known as "poli- 
tics" is, as a topic, avoided, — I might even say tabooed; and 
by " polities' ' I of course mean immediately agitating issues of 
a partisan political character. Nevertheless, even as respects 
them, a record at the time made up in a proper spirit is by no 
means without historical value. Select any political crisis one 

1 2 Proceedings, xn. 67-68. This was a favorite prophecy both of Increase 
and Cotton Mather. See Cotton Mather's Diary, index, under word Turks. 


pleases, even, at hap-hazard, one of the presidential canvasses 
of the last century, it is always interesting, and not infre- 
quently most instructive, to learn how it and the actors in it at 
the moment impressed a contemporary. 

For instance, I have recently had occasion to review some 
historical notes and material in my possession, relating to 
events which occurred exactly fifty years ago, and to characters, 
now become historical, who conspicuously figured therein. 

It was at that depressing period of our Civil War when 
the famous Proclamation of Emancipation was issued, — the 
period marked by the conflicts of Antietam and Gettysburg. 
The material consisted of extracts, which I had caused to be 
made from the London journals of the period, more especially 
from the Times, then, as the Thunderer, at the full height of its 
world-wide reputation. It was Francis Bacon who, dying, 
consigned his record and memory "to men's charitable speeches, 
to foreign nations, and to the next ages." He who in the suc- 
ceeding century was referred to as "the wisest of mankind," 
thus classed "foreign nations" with "succeeding ages" as a 
tribunal qualified impartially to pass on the reputation of an 
actor in a period not yet remote. I propose for the edification 
of the Society on the present occasion to subject this canon, 
if it may so be called, of the great English philosopher to the 
test. It will, I apprehend, be a necessary conclusion that the 
verdict of posterity has not in the case cited confirmed the con- 
temporaneous judgment of "foreign nations," while in that 
judgment charity of speech was conspicuously lacking. Here, 
for instance, is a contemporaneous estimate recorded in the 
columns of the London Herald of two American public men 
whose fame is not likely soon to pass into utter oblivion. The 
date was December 17, 1862, almost exactly fifty years ago: 

Mr. Seward, we believe, is a man of some degree of ability. He 
would not pass muster among third-rate statesmen in England; he 
is not the equal of Sir G. Grey, much less of those to whom he is 
more usually compared — Mr. Cobden, Mr. W. E. Forster, or Mr. 
Bright. Still, he is not altogether without talent, and is not inca- 
pable of common sense. But none of his colleagues possess the small- 
est gleam of intelligence or political capacity; and, among them all, 
Mr. Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury, is, perhaps, the 
most utterly ignorant and foolish. His financial ability is below 


that of the dullest Whig underling that ever helped a blundering 
Chancellor to empty the Exchequer. 

A few weeks after this estimate of Seward and Chase was 
put forth, Parliament assembled, and among its first debates 
was one upon what was known as "the American war." Of 
this debate the Times gave next morning an editorial resume. 
Referring to the opinions therein expressed of the course of 
events in America between the firing on Sumter in April and the 
Trent affair in the following November, it said: 

These, then, after a recess of six eventful months, are the con- 
clusions to which statesmen of all parties have been brought. There 
is not one of them who believes that the restoration of the American 
Union, on the terms of its original Constitution, is a possible event. 
There is not one who believes that the forcible subjugation of the 
South is a possible alternative, though there is one who declares his 
opinion that such a conquest, if it were practicable, would only 
prove the political ruin of all America together. We arrive, then, at 
the one conclusion remaining, that a separation on peaceable terms 
and at the earliest moment is the result which the friends of America 
ought to desire. 

I will now pass over a year, and upon May 22, 1863, I find 
this sentence in an editorial in the London Morning Post, 
currently reputed at that time to be the personal organ of 
Lord Palmerston, the Premier: 

In the annals of human folly there is to be found no such example 
of unmitigated imbecility as that furnished by the conduct of those 
who for the past two years have affected to direct the destinies of the 
American nation. We believe we have now seen the last "Grand 
Army of the North," 

Finally, let me read this from the issue of the Times for 
September 17, 1863, — two months, it will be noticed, after 
the battle of Gettysburg. It is from a highly characteristic 
"Thunderer" editorial, entitled "President Lincoln Described." 
The now historic character referred to was described as follows: 

Among the many marvels and paradoxes of the American Revolu- 
tion there is none greater than the part played by President Lincoln 
himself. That such a man should have been called upon to guide the 
destinies of a mighty nation during a grand historical crisis is surely 


strange enough, but that he should have blundered and vacillated 
as he has, without for a moment losing confidence in himself, or alto- 
gether forfeiting that of his countrymen, is stranger still. . . . How 
any man in his sober senses could have sat down to compose such a 
rhapsody as this, or having composed it, could have read it over with 
gravity and ordered it to be printed, passes our comprehension. 1 
It is something between a prophecy and an oracular response, with 
a dash of Yankee slang and terms of expression which remind us 
alternately of Ossian, of the incoherent utterances of the Maori 
Chiefs, and of school-boy translations of corrupt choruses in Greek 
tragedies. Cromwell never spoke and Mr. Carlyle never wrote any- 
thing so hopelessly obscure, and the persons, if there be any such, 
to whom such a jargon can appear impressive or even intelligible must 
have faculties and tastes of which we can form no idea. One is 
really tempted to think that Mr. Lincoln cannot have been himself 
when he penned so grotesque a production. 

Now I confidently submit that these extracts from the lead- 
ing organs of English opinion fifty years ago have a distinct 
historical value. Read through a half-century vista, they 
not only inculcate a lesson of modesty, but they also illustrate 
to a singular degree the extreme danger which accompanies 
all political and other vaticination in these uninspired times. 
Furthermore, they throw a gleam of lurid light on the now 
almost inconceivable condition of public thought then prevail- 
ing in English upper-class circles, a condition in which ex- 
treme dislike and insolent contempt gave expression to dense 
ignorance. They none the less afford an instructive bit of 
pen-and-ink contemporaneous portraiture. 

In much the same way, I submit that a photographic record of 

1 The "rhapsody" here referred to was Lincoln's letter to the people of Illi- 
nois, of August 26, 1863. Quoting it almost in full in their Life of Lincoln (m. 
380-389) Nicolay and Hay pass upon it the following judgment, from which the 
investigator of a century hence will probably see no occasion to dissent: "Among 
all the state papers of Mr. Lincoln from his nomination to his death this letter is 
unique. It may be called his last stump-speech, the only one made during his 
Presidency. We find in it all the qualities that made him in Illinois the incom- 
parable political leader of his party for a generation. There is the same close, 
unerring logic, the same innate perception of political conduct, the same wit and 
sarcasm, the same touch of picturesque eloquence, which abounded in his earlier 
and more careless oratory, but all wonderfully heightened, strengthened, and 
chastened by a sense of immense responsibility. . . . The style of this letter is as 
remarkable as its matter; each sentence, like a trained athlete, is divested of 
every superfluous word and syllable, yet nowhere is there a word lacking, any more 
than a word too much." 


a presidential canvass, even such as is now going on, provided 
always it is made in a purely observant and non-partisan spirit, 
is by no means devoid of historical value as well as interest, 
enabling, as it does, a later generation to compare actual re- 
sults with those at the time contemplated as possible. All 
depends on the spirit and the way in which the thing is done. 
Cynical, it may be; but it must not be partisan. 

Of course, it is not thinkable that in dealing with the political 
canvass now in progress reference should in this room be made 
to President Taft or Governor Wilson or ex-President Roose- 
velt, in the style and temper indulged in by the London journals 
as respects Lincoln, Seward and Chase half a century ago. 
Such utterances would here be utterly out of place, and are 
not for a moment suggested as possible. 

Viewed, however, in another way, and in a purely observant 
and philosophic spirit, I think it will be agreed that the canvass 
now in progress, although perhaps not momentous, is in some 
respects peculiar. For instance, though personally I have a 
vivid recollection of some sixteen presidential elections occur- 
ring within the life so far allotted me, I hardly remember one 
conducted with so little passion or such an absence of exaggera- 
tion in speech as the present canvass, except perhaps in the 
case of one prominent participant. My earlier distinct recol- 
lection goes back to the election of 1848. The four succeeding 
quadrennials, with the exception of that of 1852, were con- 
ducted in the heated atmosphere of the slavery discussion pre- 
ceding the War of Secession. Lurid, they stand by themselves; 
and it is a pleasure to feel now that they do stand by them- 
selves! Neither in magnitude of the issues involved nor in- 
tensity of feeling are conditions now prevailing in any way 
comparable with the conditions which then existed; for, para- 
doxical as the opinion may sound, the distinguishing peculiarity 
of the present pronounced "Progressive" canvass is, so far as 
I am competent to judge, its markedly reactionary character. 
As to issues supposed to be at stake and involving principles, 
I should say that there are none; for, if what are known as the 
" platforms" of the different organizations are examined, there 
is among them a striking similarity. Termed "Progressive," 
they seem inspired by a spirit of unrest, both industrial and 
social; and party organizations vie with each other in their 


efforts to conciliate that spirit. It is once more the case of 
Codlin and Short in Dickens' story! As an illustration of this 
reactionary tendency, take the matter of political campaign 
expenditure. As is perfectly well known, the elections of some 
preceding years, especially those of 1900 and 1904, were marked 
by a peculiar and somewhat reckless use of money, largely 
contributed by private interests supposed to be more or less 
interested financially in results; while those in corporate 
charge seemed to feel at liberty to contribute in greater or less 
degree to the bringing about of political action by a free use of 
corporate funds. 

The inevitable followed; and it needed little knowledge of 
human nature and political movement, especially of American 
human nature and American political movement, to realize 
that such a condition of affairs must be followed by a reaction, 
and that the reaction would correspond in extent somewhat to 
the magnitude of the abuse, — and it was very great ! It has 
so resulted; and, as compared with the immediately preceding 
presidential elections, the distinguishing feature of that now 
in progress is the absence of a wasteful expenditure of contrib- 
uted funds, resulting in a significant diminution of that ficti- 
tious enthusiasm always thereby worked up. There is, in fact, 
so far as the outward observer can see, a singular absence of 
that tumult and shouting — the meetings by day and proces- 
sions by night, the illuminations and the detonations — which 
were such marked characteristics of preceding quadrennials. 
In the present case, as the contest drags its slow length along, 
it seems as though the community realized in a vague but 
rather indifferent way the magnitude of certain constitutional 
issues involved. Nevertheless, if I might venture to character- 
ize mental conditions, I should say that a noticeable spirit of 
irresponsibility prevailed — a sort of happy-go-lucky feeling, 
if I may so describe it — a conviction that whatever turn 
things may take the world will get along somehow, and 
that the future will not greatly differ from the present or the 

And yet, to a certain extent, neither the tone of discussion 
nor the outlook can be said to be reassuring. The leading char- 
acteristic would seem to be, as I have already intimated, un- 
rest, — a deep-seated unrest. The very foundations of our social 


and industrial as well as of our political creed are questioned. 
Take, for instance, such a matter as the independent judiciary. 
Looked at in a large way and in a purely historic spirit, it is 
safe to assert that the Anglo-Saxon contest over the judicial 
system — that is, the fearless and impartial administration of 
the law — has now been in progress for, say, three centuries 
and a half, or since the reign of Elizabeth, certainly since the 
time of the first Stuart. The issue in one of its phases was a 
very living one, memorable in history, and continuous through- 
out the seventeenth century. Beginning with the days of Coke 
and lasting to those of Holt, it presented episodes which have 
left deep imprints on the page of our history, — the Royal Pre- 
rogative, Ship-money, the trial of the seven Bishops, and the 
career of Chief Justice Jeffreys. Not until after the troubled 
waters had subsided, was the independence of the judiciary at 
last fully established. This was by the Act of Settlement of 
1689, providing thereafter a judicial tenure during good be- 
havior in place of that which had theretofore immemorially 
obtained, a tenure terminable at the will of the Sovereign, — 
what might in the terminology of the day be denominated the 
Crown-Recall. The fixity of judicial tenure was thereafter 
assumed, and became, as it were, an accepted cardinal prin- 
ciple of constitutional government. As such, a hundred years 
later it was formally incorporated in the American fundamental 
law. Accepted as a political truth — a species of constitutional 
axiom — it there remained embedded for a century. Never- 
theless, to-day even the fixity of the tenure, and the consequent 
independence, of the judiciary is questioned, and the power of 
removal, it is claimed, which was by a hundred years of effort 
wrested from the Crown, is about to be placed in the hands of 
the political majority. It is gravely insisted that while the 
King, as experience showed, could, contrary to the fundamental 
maxim, do wrong, and do it through the instrumentality of the 
courts, the People can be depended upon by no possibility so to 
err; and it is safe, therefore, to make of it the final court of 
legal appeal, placing in the hands of the popular majority for 
the time being that power which, as the outcome of a century's 
effort, was wrested from the King. Seriously advanced, this 
theory is apparently making popular headway. Already in- 
corporated as a fundamental article of political right in the most 


recently revised of our State Constitutions, it is proclaimed of 
universal application. 

I cite this merely as an example of that spirit of unrest to 
which I have alluded as generally prevailing. Other examples 
at once suggest themselves. For instance, only within a few 
days, while discussing these and kindred matters, in a purely 
philosophical way, with our Associate Honorary Member, 
Mr. Bryce, he put to me the question whether there was a single 
proposition regarded as indisputably settled by the political 
economists of fifty years or a century ago — by men like Adam 
Smith, Malthus, Ricardo and John Stuart Mill — not now fallen 
into discredit, and, when not disregarded, openly questioned. 
The study of what not long ago was treated as a science was 
falling into noticeable disuse. For instance, the whole system 
inaugurated by Adam Smith was founded on individualism, 
competition and freedom from restraint. Yet in the political 
discussion now most commonly heard, each one of these funda- 
mental principles is challenged. In place thereof governmental 
regulation is treated as a necessity; collectivism is advocated; 
and the functions formerly, under our system of government, 
left either free from regulation or subject to regulation in the 
least possible degree, are now looked upon as necessary gov- 
ernmental attributes. Labor, wages, tenure of employment, 
and freedom of contract, are matters of constant statute 

It is the same as respects sovereignty. Heretofore, under 
our American constitutional system, one of the accepted 
functions of the law was to protect the rights of minorities, 
as they were called. Appeal was always to be made to the 
sober second thought. The tendency is now exactly the other 
way. The argument is that delay in reaching political con- 
clusions is useless, if not unreasonable; and the tendency in- 
disputably is to get back to what is best known, historically, 
as the system of Athenian democracy, — that is, the most 
speedy and direct recourse possible to the popular vote; and 
the result of that vote should be final upon all questions, 
whether political, financial, economic, or even judicial. This 
tendency is certainly revolutionary. Not that I would for a 
moment be thought to imply that, being revolutionary, it is 
necessarily bad or in the end harmful. The experience of the 


last century, in what is known as the French Revolution, was 
on that point conclusive. It used to be said that the ways 
of Providence were past rinding out. We to-day express it 
differently and far more euphemistically when we philosophi- 
cally observe that the process of evolution is not at once 

In thus calling attention to phases characteristic of the politi- 
cal canvass now in progress, no spirit of the partisan is evinced. 
The effort has been to look at them and it with an eye purely 
observing and philosophical. Immediate results may be un- 
pleasant, and in many respects trying. It certainly was so 
in the process we ourselves passed through half a century 
ago. Nevertheless, the outcome may well be worth all it 
may cost. It is our function here merely to call attention to 
facts, in no way indulging in prophecy, least of all in jere- 
miads and lamentations. The philosopher of history main- 
tains always Wordsworth's "cheerful confidence in things to 

It only remains for me to make the usual reference to events 
more directly affecting our membership which have occurred 
during our vacation period. We see here to-day the Dean of 
the Society, and our Librarian through more than forty years, 
occupying as unexpectedly to himself as to us his accustomed 
seat. It is needless for me to say that the recovery of Dr. Green, 
though at his years necessarily partial, has been a matter of 
gratification as well as of surprise to his associates here as to 
himself. That the recovery should have been so considerable 
would have been thought impossible both to him and by us 
when we separated in June; much less would we then have 
^anticipated seeing him here now. 

During the interval one death only has chanced, — a death 
which we all concur in lamenting, though, in no way unexpected, 
it came in the ripeness of time. I think it is safe, however, to 
say that Professor Goodwin was held in general and high 
esteem by all the members of this Society who could claim per- 
sonal knowledge of him; for Professor Goodwin belonged to 
a generation that is gone. He had survived nearly all his 

I shall presently call upon others for the tributes usual on 


announcements such as that just made. Before so doing, how- 
ever, I shall refer in a general way to our late associate's con- 
nection with this Society. Elected a Resident Member at the 
October meeting, 1886 — twenty-six years ago — the name of 
Professor Goodwin, at the time of his death, stood fifteenth on 
our Resident roll. A man of fifty-five when chosen, he was yet 
a constant attendant at our meetings, and took a pronounced 
and lively interest in the affairs of the Society. A fruitful con- 
tributor to our Proceedings , few who took part in our meetings 
spoke in a more authoritative way on the topics to which he con- 
fined himself. There was about Professor Goodwin something 
essentially lovable. Born in Concord, and more especially 
identified with Plymouth and the Old Colony, he looked at 
events and personages in a kindly way and from a somewhat 
humorous point of view. Neither aggressive nor a controver- 
sialist, he was, nevertheless, a man of decided convictions; and 
these he never failed to advance in a way peculiarly his own. 
Elected in 1886, his contributions began the following year, 
when he presented the records of the "Old Colony Club." At 
the next meeting, also, he exhibited the Diary of Josiah Cotton 
of Plymouth. At the annual election of April, 1888, he was 
made a member of the Council, and served upon itjintil April, 
189 1. Subsequently he was on the Committee to nominate 
officers, and drew up the report of the Council on his retirement 
from it. Chosen Corresponding Secretary in April, 1894, he 
filled that office until April, 1896. In November, 1894, he filed a 
memoir of his honored colleague, Prof. Henry W. Torrey, 
and in February, 1896, he paid a tribute to our associate 
Martin Brimmer; as, the following year, he also did to Justin 
Winsor, and in November, 1899, John C. Ropes. Personally 
I especially recall the very interesting and learned contribu- 
tions he made in 1903, following papers of my own on the 
battles of Marathon and Salamis. Finally, and most appro- 
priately, one of his last contributions was his personal reminis- 
cences of Longfellow. During Professor Goodwin's member- 
ship 238 meetings of the Society were held; of these, he was 
present at just 100. 

Personally I have known and maintained most friendly and 
kindly relations with Professor Goodwin through more years 
than I can remember; for, though he was not a preceptor at 



Harvard during my own college days, my acquaintance with him 
began at a period earlier than I can now recall. In fact, I hardly 
remember the time when acquaintance between us did not ex- 
ist; and that acquaintance was marked by no single discordant 
feature. But, both personally and in connection with the Col- 
lege, others can speak of Professor Goodwin more effectively 
than I. Two such are here to-day, — one, our Dean, Dr. 
Green, who, sitting side by side with Professor Goodwin through- 
out his college life, has since been intimate with him; the other 
is President-Emeritus Eliot, associated with Professor Good- 
win in the Faculty of the University through the lifetime of a 
generation and until the latter voluntarily withdrew. 

I now, therefore, call upon Dr. Green to speak of his college 
classmate and his and our associate here. 


Dr, Green spoke as follows: 

I regret exceedingly that I am not able physically — and 
perhaps not mentally — to pay a worthy tribute to my life- 
long friend, Professor Goodwin. A long absence from these 
rooms of more than five months, mostly in a hospital as the 
result of an accident, has rendered me unable to express my 
thoughts fittingly of a classmate endeared by a friendship 
lasting through many years. 

Professor Goodwin was chosen, a member of the Historical 
Society on October 14, 1886, and at that time had a wide repu- 
tation as a classical student and was well known both in this 
country and in England. In every sense of the word he was a 
scholar; and all his tastes from college days were connected 
with critical learning. In college at the time of graduation he 
stood as the second scholar in rank. After his collegiate course 
he remained at Cambridge for two years as a Resident Gradu- 
ate teaching private pupils. In the summer of 1853 he sailed for 
Europe in order to study classical philology in some of the 
universities of Germany. He studied first at the University of 
Gottingen, where he remained until the next spring, when he 
went to Bonn for the summer term. The following winter he 
passed at Berlin; it was there that I saw a good deal of him 
and other American students. 

Among them was Alexander W. Thayer, a graduate of Har- 
vard in the Class of 1843, wno was tnen at wor ^ on ^ s m&gnutn 


opus, the Life of Beethoven, which is now a monument to the 
author's accuracy and research. This work was published 
first in Germany and later in this country. 

Another American student in Berlin at that time was Wil- 
liam F. Allen (H. C, 185 1), who afterward was chosen a Cor- 
responding Member of this Society. Allen, like Goodwin, was 
an excellent classical scholar, and they' were both warm friends 
as well as classmates. I remember, too, that while in Berlin, 
in collaboration they, were engaged at one time in writing a 
criticism of Dr. Wm. Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman 
Geography, then recently published. This article was sent to 
Boston and appeared later in the North American Review, for 
July, 1855. It showed a very thorough knowledge of the 
investigations and discoveries up to that time upon the sub- 
ject, and attracted considerable attention in the literary world. 
When Allen died in December, 1889, Professor Haynes paid a 
tribute to his memory which is printed in the Proceedings \ of 
this Society; and in his remarks he refers particularly to this 
paper written by Allen and Goodwin, which he calls "a striking 
article," and displaying great research. He mentions certain 
corrections delicately made in this review of a fault to which 
English scholars were somewhat prone. 

Professor Goodwin's earliest publication, which attracted 
considerable attention, was An Elementary Greek Grammar. 
"The book most commonly in use in this part of the country 
was more than twenty years old, and consequently bore' no trace 
of many important investigations and discoveries made in this 
generation in Germany and in this country." This work of 
Professor Goodwin, in compass of a little more than two hun- 
dred pages, gave all that was necessary for the student in his 
first three or four years study of the Greek language. It 
brought the author a reputation among classical scholars, both 
here and in England, as a man of wide learning, and was 
readily adopted in many elementary schools in both countries. 

Within a few months this Society has lost three prominent 
members, and they all were old friends of mine. First, Haynes, 
on February 16, then Hall, on February 22, and now, lastly, 
Goodwin, on June 16. An intimate acquaintance with them 
all from early manhood and lasting for more than sixty-five 
1 2 Proceedings ; v. 152. 


years made their loss to me a personal one, far greater than 
mere membership in a body associated together for historical 
purposes. These men, all members of the Class of 185 1, have 
been taken from the living, and now only three remain as sur- 
vivors. Thus one-half of the class has disappeared in the 
short space of four months. In one of the divisions of the 
class during the second term of the Freshman year we four sat 
in Sophocles' room arranged alphabetically on the benches, 
almost touching one another shoulder to shoulder, and I sat 
next to Goodwin. 

I remember, too, how in after life I used to chaff Goodwin 
occasionally, at some of our class gatherings and tell him how 
I used to prompt him in the Greek recitation room. He never 
seemed to appreciate the joke, for apparently he thought I 
was in earnest. All the fellows present could see the absurdity 
of it, as Goodwin had more knowledge of Greek in his little 
finger than I had in my whole cranium. 

Goodwin always gave his uncle, Benjamin Marston Watson, 
credit for teaching him the beauties of Greek. In a tribute paid 
to his memory before this Society he said: "and for all my early 
knowledge of this language, and indeed for the first intimation 
that there was anything in it which it was worth while for a 
New England boy to know, I was indebted to my uncle, with 
whom I was brought up as a younger brother." J 

President Eliot then read the following characterization: 

William Watson Goodwin got his early love of the Greek 
language and literature from two maternal uncles in Plymouth, 
and later in Harvard College between 1847 an d 1853 from Pro- 
fessor Cornelius Conway Felton and Tutor Evangelinus Apos- 
tolides Sophocles, who furthered with hearty appreciation his 
own inheritances and acquirements. At that time Greek was 
required of all undergraduates till the end of the sophomore 
year, and was an elective study in the junior and senior years. 
The Greek required for admission to the freshman class was 
Felton's Greek Reader and Sophocles's Greek Grammar, no 
other books being allowed in substitution for these two. Good- 
win always maintained that the selection of Greek prose and 
poetry in Felton's Reader was a very judicious one, and that 
1 2 Proceedings, x. 468. 


he personally owed much to the wisdom of that selection. The 
choice of Greek authors, which the four-years course in college 
then covered, was fairly comprehensive and varied, — namely, 
the Panegyricus of Isocrates, Felton's Selections from Greek 
Historians, plays by Aristophanes, Sophocles and Aeschylus, and 
selections from Plato, Aeschines and Demosthenes. Kuhner's 
and Buttmann's Greek Grammars were in use, in addition 
to that of Sophocles. 

Having taken at Harvard the Bachelor's degree in 185 1, 
Goodwin spent two years in Cambridge as a resident graduate, in 
pleasant company with his contemporaries and life-long friends 
Ephraim Whitman Gurney and Henry Williamson Haynes, 
all three being devoted to classical and historical studies. 
At this period he took a few private pupils, but his time was 
chiefly devoted to his own studies. With this equipment and a 
genuine enthusiasm for all things Greek, Goodwin went in 1853 
to Germany, where he studied at Gottingen, Berlin, and Bonn, 
taking his Doctor's degree at Gottingen in 1855. While in 
Germany he mastered the German language, greatfy extended 
his knowledge of the Greek language and literature, and began 
to devote himself to Greek grammar. He also gained the 
friendship of several German and English students of Greek of 
about his own age, and the hearty admiration and good-will 
of his teachers, and of other eminent German scholars to whom 
he had been introduced by Professor Charles Beck of Harvard. 

In 1856 he was appointed Tutor in Greek and Latin in Har- 
vard College, a title which he was glad to have changed, in the 
second term of 1857-58, to Tutor in Greek; for he did not 
care to teach Latin. When Goodwin became a Tutor in 1856, 
I had already been a Tutor in mathematics and a member of 
the Faculty for two years; but he was my senior by nearly 
three years, and had been thoroughly trained for his tutorship 
and for the profession of the scholar. I looked up to him ac- 
cordingly. At that time he was the only tutor, or junior in- 
structor, in Harvard College who had been thoroughly pre- 
pared for the career of a college teacher; and it may be doubted 
whether in the long list of tutors who subsequently held office 
in Harvard College as President or Professor, beginning with 
Urian Oakes, A. B. 1649, Tutor 1650-1653, and twenty-five 
years later President for six years, there is a single American 


who at the time of his appointment as tutor had received so 
adequate a training at home and abroad in the subject he was 
to teach as Goodwin had received. He was an exact scholar 
himself, and had no respect for inaccurate, vague, parasitic 
discourse on or about great authors. He wished every man who 
called himself a scholar, whether young or old, to be accurate, 
clear and thorough; then he might be as ingenious, brilliant, 
romantic, and poetic as his nature permitted. His coming into 
the Faculty was a reinforcement for the evolutionary party 
in that body, then gathering force. 

On Goodwin's advent there immediately appeared in the 
four-years course in Greek offered by Harvard College some 
new classical authors and modern Greek. Among the new 
texts was the Politics of Aristotle, a selection to which Good- 
win frequently recurred during his career as a teacher. Soon 
selections from Plato made occasional appearance in the list 
of Greek courses, and from time to time Thucydides was given 
a large place. In the last years of Professor Goodwin's teach- 
ing Plato and Aristotle were his favorite subjects. 

Goodwin's main desires, on his entrance into the College 
Faculty, were, first, to make the required courses in Greek 
during the first two years of the college course more acceptable 
and interesting; and secondly, to develop through the elective 
courses of the last two years a few really good Greek scholars, 
who had read many Greek authors, written Greek, v and come 
to understand the influence of the Greek literature upon the 
other literatures of Europe. He also was from the beginning 
keenly interested in grammatical studies, and tried to impart 
this interest to his classes. His earliest published works were 
The Syntax of the Greek Moods and Tenses and his Greek Gram- 
mar; and both these books came rapidly into use, not only in 
the United States but in England. As a teacher, he was inter- 
ested first in the language and style of the author in hand, and 
secondly in the author's reasoning or thinking process, provided 
that he felt sure he knew what the author meant to say. 
In the classroom he more frequently called the students' atten- 
tion to the clearness or obscurity of the author's style, or to 
the author's phraseology, or idioms, or habitual constructions, 
than to the literary beauty or philosophical excellence of the 
narrative, drama or essay in hand. He was not himself ad- 



dieted to philosophical or political reading in general; although 
his mind was permeated with Greek philosophy and politics. 
As a member of the Faculty his leading motive was the develop- 
ment in Harvard University of genuine scholarship, first in the 
Classics, of course, but also in every worthy subject. 

His Moods and Tenses and his Grammar are distinguished by 
an extraordinary clearness of statement, even when the groups 
of facts he is studying are themselves somewhat obscure. This 
quality was the sound reason for the permanent success of his 
early writings as school and college text-books. It is noticeable 
that Goodwin's Moods and Tenses — the most remarkable of 
his works — was published in i860, when he was only twenty- 
nine years old, and the first edition of his Greek Grammar in 
1870, when he was thirty-nine. His was a strong case of the 
early determination of a life-career, under the guidance of a 
natural taste or bent, and of early distinction in the career so 
selected. He revised these two books with adequate frequency, 
and they carried his name all over the civilized world. A few 
years ago a committee consisting of Canadian professional and 
business men, charged to prepare a new constitution for the 
University of Toronto, visited Cambridge to inquire into the 
organization of Harvard University. After a long conversation 
with the committee in my office, I started with them from 
University Hall to point out some of Harvard's characteristic 
buildings and equipments. On our way across the College Yard 
from University Hall to Phillips Brooks House I saluted Pro- 
fessor Goodwin, who was walking rapidly on the same path 
toward University. The gentleman with whom I was walking 
said to me, "Who was that fine-looking old gentleman we just 
met?" I replied, "Professor William W. Goodwin." He 
started, and exclaimed, "Not Goodwin's Moods and Tenses?" 
"Yes," said I, "the same;" whereupon he announced loudly 
to his comrades behind him, "That old man with the fresh 
complexion and white hair is Goodwin's Moods and Tenses 
and Greek Grammar" — whereat they all turned round, and 
took off their hats toward Professor Goodwin's back. 

In i860, when Professor Felton became President of Har- 
vard, Goodwin succeeded Felton as Eliot Professor of Greek 
Literature, being then twenty-nine years of age. This appoint- 
ment came to him in the pleasantest possible manner, on the 


cordial recommendation of President Felton, and with the 
warm approval of all his contemporaries in the College service. 
It satisfied his professional hopes and expectations, and made 
his life-career clear before him. Within four years he married, 
and moved into the house on Follen Street in which he died 
last June, at the age of eighty-one. 

In 1866-67 opportunity came to Goodwin to contribute 
largely to the development of advanced instruction in Harvard 
College; and he seized upon it with eagerness. An inquiry 
into the existing programme of studies in Harvard College 
having been set on foot by the Corporation, the Faculty, at 
that time consisting of only twenty-one persons, was soon en- 
gaged in a thorough overhauling of the selection, arrangement, 
and distribution of the required, elective, and extra studies for 
undergraduates. Goodwin was an active member of the small 
liberal majority in the Faculty; and he used every influence 
at his command to give effect to the liberal programme. The 
result was a new announcement in the Catalogue of 1867-68 
on the subject of elective and extra studies. The freshman class 
became the only class all of whose studies were required. The 
required studies of the sophomore class were reduced to seven 
hours a week; and elective studies covering six hours a week 
were permitted to every sophomore. The required studies of 
the junior class and those of the senior class were reduced to five 
hours a week in each of the two years; and a junior or a senior 
might take nine hours a week of elective work. Moreover, it 
was announced that special honors would be assigned at gradua- 
tion for distinction in the elective departments. Here was the 
starting-point of the second development of the elective system 
in Harvard College (the first took place under President Quincy, 
1829-1845) and of the system of honors at graduation, a system 
which had a strong effect on the mode of developing the elective 
system between 1867 and 1909, and showed the way to the 
modification of the elective system, in the direction of compul- 
sory concentration, which has taken place within the last two 
years. Goodwin always looked back with great satisfaction to 
his successful advocacy of these changes in the policy of the 
College, and he had good reason so to do. Three other life- 
long servants of Harvard College shared his labors on this 
subject and his satisfaction with the results, — namely, Assist- 


ant Professors Gurney and Peirce and Tutor Greenough. In 
urging the change, Goodwin was in the habit of stating that 
three old Professors, under the system in vogue in 1866, 
occupied three-quarters of the Senior year with their elementary 
required courses, and therefore blocked the way of students 
competent for advanced work in other subjects. These three 
Professors were Messrs. Andrew P. Peabody, Bowen, and 
Torrey, all old friends and admirers of Goodwin. The statement 
was only slightly exaggerated. Moreover, Goodwin's own tem- 
perament, as became a Greek scholar, was distinctly conserva- 
tive. Yet his zeal for advanced scholarship in America 
overcame all inducements to maintain the programme of 
required studies, and made him a leader among the liberals. 

In later years Goodwin gave two other striking illustrations 
of the way his liberalism could triumph over his conservatism. 
When the so-called "Annex" was making its feeble beginning 
in Cambridge, Goodwin accepted as a pupil a young woman 
who had remarkable capacity and enthusiasm for the study of 
Greek. . Her noteworthy success under his tuition, and the 
zeal of his friends Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Gurney and Professor 
James B. Greenough in the new undertaking interested him 
in the whole problem of the higher education of women; and 
he became a firm supporter of "The Annex" — subsequently 
Radcliffe College — and year after year served as teacher to a 
small class of young women who wished to pursue advanced 
studies in Greek. Thus his love of good scholarship, and his 
wish to help all aspirants for the scholar's life, drew him into a 
new undertaking to which his inherited instincts would not 
have directed him. 

As a member of the College Faculty, Goodwin never liked 
the class of irregular students called " unmatriculated " or 
"special." He preferred the regular student, following the 
beaten track through school and college toward the degree of 
Bachelor of Arts. A special student was, in his view, an un- 
desirable member of the University on whom no pains should 
be wasted. In the year 1879-80 Goodwin was disagreeably 
surprised to find in his class in Plato and Aristotle a mature 
young Scotchman who was classified as an unmatriculated 
student. This student, however, proved to be the most success- 
ful and interesting student in the class; whereupon, toward 


the close of the year, Goodwin introduced a motion into the 
Faculty (to the intense surprise of that body) to the effect that 
George A. Gordon, unmatriculated student, be admitted to 
the next Senior class without examination; and in advocating 
his motion he remarked that it was an outrage that such a 
scholar as Gordon should be classified as an unmatriculated 
student. The motion prevailed; and George A. Gordon, now 
pastor of the Old South Church and a Harvard Overseer, be- 
came a Harvard Bachelor of Arts in 1881. Thus Goodwin 
again showed himself capable of abandoning temporarily, for 
good cause, a policy or line of action in which he had long firmly 

Goodwin's strong conservatism and local attachment were 
manifested in his choice of a summer residence and his mode of 
life there. He was brought up in Plymouth; and his mother 
belonged to the Watson family, part of which lived on Clark's 
Island. There Goodwin built a house for the summer. Ply- 
mouth Harbor is full of flats at low tide; winds die down there 
towards sundown, as all along the New England coast; and 
the channel from Clark's Island to the Plymouth landing is 
crooked and shifting, so that a small sail-boat was an uncer- 
tain conveyance for freight and passengers to Goodwin's house, 
even if the steersman had the knowledge of the channel and 
its tides and the skill as a boatman which Goodwin possessed. 
Nevertheless, Goodwin persisted in using a sail-boat as his 
means of communication with Plymouth years after gasolene 
launches had come into use. Only in the last year of his resi- 
dence at Clark's Island did he consent to acquire a motor-boat ; 
but when he got it, he enjoyed with real open-mindedness its 
speed, small draught, and independence of wind. 

Goodwin's attainments and his influence as a Greek scholar 
were recognized by many universities in the United States, 
England, and Germany, and by many philological societies. 
In 1882-83 he served as the first Director of the American 
School of Classical. Studies at Athens, and greatly enjoyed the 
year in the capital of Greece. He particularly enjoyed friendly 
intercourse with the Prime Minister Tricoupis and other culti- 
vated persons at the capital, both Greeks and foreigners, who 
were thoroughly acquainted with Greek literature and history, 
and hoped for a revival of Greek influence in the world. 


Goodwin was twice happily married, and had a home life of 
rare sweetness and dignity. By his first wife he had two sons, 
one of whom died in infancy, and the other died young, but 
lived long enough to show, as a student in Harvard College, 
that he possessed many of his father's scholarly qualities. The 
father commemorated the son by founding in Harvard Uni- 
versity the Charles Haven Goodwin Scholarship with an 
income of three hundred and fifty dollars a year, the bene- 
ficiary to be a student of the Classics in the Senior Class or 
the Graduate School, and to be nominated by the Department 
of Classics. 

Goodwin was of Pilgrim ancestry and the son of a Unitarian 
minister; so he was naturally a liberal in religion. Like Emerson, 
he believed in church-going, and always supported by his at- 
tendance and sincere interest the religious services in the Chapel 
of Harvard College, both while they were required of all stu- 
dents, and afterward, when attendance was made voluntary. 
Some years after his retirement, which took place in 1901, 
Sunday morning services were resumed in Appleton Chapel, 
instead of the evening services which had been conducted there 
for many years. Thereupon Goodwin returned from the First 
Church of Cambridge to the College Chapel. He always re- 
mained true to the simple faith in which he had been brought 
up, and to the belief that religious training is an indispensable 
part of sound education. 

Healthy, genial and serene in aspect, simple in all his habits, 
kindly but with keen appreciation of the comical side of serious 
personages and grave events, modest about his own achieve- 
ments, sincere in his frequent confessions of ignorance, fond 
of the solid fact and distrustful of subtlety and speculation, 
restrained in exposition and criticism, a master of the Greek 
language and of the English, he was a model of the vigorous, 
high-minded, happy scholar. For more than forty years he was 
exemplar, adviser, and friend to American students of the 
Classics. They testify strongly to the wholesomeness and 
durability of his influence as a scholar and a man. He did 
enduring work for human culture, and for the honor and 
stability of the College he intensely loved; and he enjoyed to 
the full the satisfactions which are the reward of loving and 
loyal service. 


Mr. C. F. Adams read by title a paper on 

The Negotiation of 1861 relating to the Declaration 
of Paris of 1856. 

The period between April 13, 186 1, when Fort Sumter fell, 
and July 21, following, which witnessed the Bull Run catas- 
trophe — a period of exactly one hundred days — constituted 
the first distinctive stage of our Civil War. Formative, during 
it the loyal portion of the Union was, so to speak, finding it- 
self. In an excited and altogether abnormal condition morally, 
it was unreasoning, unreasonable and curiously illogical. As an 
interval of time, therefore, the period referred to stands by 
itself, to be treated separately from that which preceded or that 
which was to follow. Before April 13th and up to that day — 
strange as the assertion now sounds — the historic fact is that 
the country, taken as a whole, had no realizing sense of the im- 
pending. Though anxiety was great and continually increasing, it 
was still generally believed that, somehow or in some way, provi- 
dential if not otherwise, an actual appeal to arms and a conse- 
quent internecine struggle would not take place. Too dreadful 
calmly to contemplate, it could not, and consequently would not, 
occur. 1 The firing on Fort Sumter dispelled this illusion, and an 
entire community at last realized the grim, hard facts of a 
situation truly appalling. Then, so far as the part of the coun- 
try loyal to the Union was concerned, there ensued the hundred 
days referred to, — days of artificial excitement and self- 
delusion. Fired by patriotism and literally drunk with enthu- 
siasm, the North indulged in a most exaggerated self-confidence, 
combined with an altogether undue depreciation of its opponent. 
The conflict was to be short, sharp and decisive. A military 
walk-over was confidently anticipated; the so-called Confed- 
eracy was to be obliterated by one wild rush. The cry of "On 
to Richmond," first raised by Horace Greeley in the New York 
Tribune, soon became general and irresistible. But the delu- 
sion was not confined to the unthinking or less well-informed. 

1 "Neither party appeared to be apprehensive of or to realize the gathering 
storm. There was a general belief, indulged in by most persons, that an adjust- 
ment would in some way be brought about, without any extensive resort to ex- 
treme measures. . . . Until blood was spilled there was hope of conciliation." 
Welles, Diary, I. 10, 12, 35, 172, 355~356. 


Shared to an almost equal extent by those in official position, it 
was reflected in their attitude and stands recorded in their 
utterances. This was peculiarly apparent in the management 
of our foreign relations through the State Department, of which 
Mr. Seward was the head. The awakening — and it was a 
terribly rude one — came on the 21st of July, at Bull Run; 
and from that day the struggle entered on a wholly new phase. 
The community, at first panic-stricken, then soon sobered. The 
strength and fighting capacity of the Confederacy had been 
unmistakably demonstrated; and, the first artificial flush of 
enthusiasm dispelled, the country addressed itself in a wholly 
new spirit to the supreme effort to which it at last realized it 
was summoned. The magnitude and consequent uncertainty 
of the struggle were realized. 

In the course of a somewhat elaborate historical study my 
attention has recently been drawn to an altogether forgotten 
diplomatic episode which occurred in that stage of initial 
crystallization, and to it I propose to devote this paper. As 
an incident in a most critical period, what I have to describe 
will, I think, prove not without interest; and, at the time, it 
was, as I now view it, of a possible importance appreciated 
neither then nor since. 

I recently received a letter from our associate, Mr. Frederic 
Bancroft, author of the Life of Seward, in which, referring 
to an allusion of mine, he said: " Unless you have taken stand 
directly against your father and your brother Henry's essay 
in regard to Seward's and your father's attitude toward the 
attempted accession of the United States, in 1861, to the dec- 
laration of Paris of 1856, I very much wish to argue the point 
with you, orally, of course." 

The allusion recalled the fact, which I had quite forgotten, 
that Mr. Henry Adams had prepared such a paper as Mr. Ban- 
croft referred to, 1 and, moreover, that I had myself nearly 
twenty years ago made large use of it in writing chapter xn 
entitled "The Treaty of Paris," in the Life of C. F. Adams, in 
the American Statesman Series. Mr. Bancroft had subsequently 
gone over the same ground, but I could not recall the conclu- 
sions he had reached. In fact, the whole subject had passed 
completely out of my memory. I accordingly once more reverted 

1 Historical Essays, 237-289. 


to it, carefully re-reading Mr. Henry Adams's paper, the chap- 
ter (xxxi) relating to the episode in Mr. Bancroft's Seward, 
and finally my own effort of a score of years since. Th© 
general historians had not apparently deemed the incident 
worthy even of passing notice. In this, as will presently be 
seen, I do not concur. 

As usual, the more thoroughly I now studied the records, 
the more important, involved, and suggestive the episode be- 
came. Above all, I was amazed and mortified at the superfi- 
cial character of my own previous treatment; for I now found 
myself compelled to most unwelcome conclusions, not only 
different from those I had previously set forth, but altogether 
at variance with those reached by Mr. Henry Adams in his 
carefully prepared study. Though peculiarly well-informed as 
to the facts, having himself been practically at the time con- 
cerned in what occurred, I now found reason to conclude he 
had written from the point of view of an active and interested 
participant; and since he published his paper fresh material 
had come to light. I so wrote at much length to Mr. Bancroft, 
with whose subsequently prepared narrative and conclusions I 
now find myself in more general, though not in complete, 
accord. That letter to Mr. Bancroft supplies the basis of what 
I here submit. In submitting it, however, I wish to premise 
that in it no regard has been paid to the literary aspect, nor 
can it even be considered a finished historical study. Rather 
in the nature of a compendium or syllabus, into it I have 
put a mass of somewhat heterogeneous matter with a view 
to making the same more accessible in future to myself, as 
well as other investigators of a highly interesting historical 
period. I regard the result, therefore, largely as raw material, 
in the accumulation and presenting of which I have to ac- 
knowledge much and efficient assistance received from our 

For an intelligent comprehension of what is to follow in its 
far-reaching significance and somewhat dramatic interest, 
it is, however, necessary to go pretty far back, — so to speak, 
to begin at the beginning. Attention has already been called 
to the date of the bombardment and fall of Fort Sumter, — 
April 13, 1861. Events then followed rapidly. Sumter was 
surrendered on Saturday, and the papers of the following 



Monday, the 15th, contained the proclamation of the Presi- 
dent calling for troops, and summoning Congress to meet July 
4th in extra session. 1 Two days later, the 17th, Jefferson Davis 
responded from Montgomery by declaring the intention of the 
Confederacy immediately to issue letters of marque, authorizing 
depredations by privateers on the ships and commerce of the 
loyal States. 2 On the 19th, the Friday of the week following the 
fall of Sumter, President Lincoln issued yet another proclama- 
tion announcing a blockade of the ports of all the seceding States. 
In this proclamation it was stated that the blockade was to be 
conducted "in pursuance of the laws of the United States and 
of the law of nations in such case provided"; and, finally, to 
meet the threatened retaliation through privateers and pri- 
vateering, it was added "that if any person under the pretended 
authority of such [Confederate] States . . . shall molest a ves- 
sel of the United States, or the persons or cargo on board of her, 
such person will be held amenable to the laws of the United 
States for the prevention and punishment of piracy." 3 Two 
international issues were thus presented and brought to the front 
within the first week following the fall of Sumter. They were 
the issues of belligerency in case of a blockade of the first mag- 
nitude, proclaimed to be enforced "in pursuance of the law of 
nations," and the logically consequent issue naturally involved 
in what is known as privateering. Five days later, on April 
24th, a circular addressed to the representatives of the United 
States in all the principal capitals, was issued from the State 
Department calling attention to the attitude now proposed to 
be assumed by the United States towards what was known as 
the Declaration of Paris. 

This so-called Declaration was an outcome of the Crimean 
War. When, in the summer of 1853, that war broke out, nearly 
forty years had elapsed since the close of the Napoleonic period : 
a period during which, as is well known, a system of semi-bar- 
barous rules of so-called international law had been ruthlessly 
enforced by all belligerents. In 1853 those rules were still 
recognized as obligatory and enforceable, though in abeyance. 
As an historical fact, it was undeniable that, on the high seas, 

1 Messages and Papers of the Presidents, VI. 13. 

2 Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, I. 60. 

3 Messages and Papers of the Presidents, vi. 14. 


piracy was the natural condition of man; and, when the arti- 
ficial state of peace ceased, into that condition as between those 
involved in the strife nations relapsed. To ameliorate this state 
of affairs, both possible and imminent, and to readjust in some 
degree the rules of international law to meet changed commer- 
cial conditions, Great Britain and France, on the outbreak of 
the war with Russia, agreed to respect neutral commerce, 
whether under their own flags or that of Russia; and, at the 
close of the war, the Congress of Paris adopted, in April, 1856, a 
Declaration embracing four heads: 

1. Privateering is and remains abolished. 

2. The neutral flag covers enemy's goods, with the ex- 
ception of contraband of war. 

3. Neutral goods, with the exception of contraband of 
war, are not liable to capture under enemy's flag. 

4. Blockades in order to be binding must be effective; 
that is to say, maintained by forces sufficient really to pre- 
vent access to the coast of the enemy. 

Great Britain, France, Prussia, Russia, Austria and Turkey 
adopted this mutual agreement, and pledged themselves to 
make it known to States not represented in the Congress, and 
invite their accession to it, on two conditions : (1) That 
the Declaration should be accepted as a whole, or not at 
all; and (2) That the States acceding should enter into no 
subsequent arrangement on maritime law in time of war 
without stipulating for a strict observance of the four points. 
On these conditions every maritime power was to be invited 
to accede, and had the right to become a party to the agree- 
ment. Accordingly nearly all the nations of Europe and 
South America in course of time notified their accession, 
and became, equally with the original parties contracting, en- 
titled to all the benefits and subject to the obligations of the 

Among the rest, the government of the United States was 
invited to accede, and, like the other powers, had the right 
so to do by simple notification. This was during the Pierce 
administration; and Mr. Marcy, then Secretary of State, in 
due time (July 28, 1856) informed the governments interested 
that the President could not abandon the right to have recourse 
to privateers, unless he could secure the exemption of all pri- 


vate property, not contraband, from "capture at sea; 1 with 
that amendment the United States would become a party to 
the Declaration. 

In other words, in addition to the points agreed on at Paris 
the United States contended for the establishment of the same 
principle on the sea that obtained on land, to wit: the exemp- 
tion from capture or unnecessary molestation of all private 
property, not contraband of war, including ships. The last 
great vestige of the earlier times of normal piracy was, by gen- 
eral consent, to be relegated to the past. With the exception 
of Great Britain, the more considerable European maritime 
powers made no objection to the Marcy amendment. For 
obvious reasons connected with her past history and naval 
preponderance, Great Britain was understood to oppose it. 

President Buchanan's was essentially an "Ostend mani- 
festo," or filibuster, administration. As such, it felt no call 
to the proposed modifications; 2 but when Lincoln succeeded 
Buchanan the aspect of the proposition had, from the United 
States point of view, undergone dramatic change. Threatened 
with Confederate letters of marque, the government also found 
itself engaged in, and responsible for, a blockade of the first 

1 [This policy goes back to 1823, when President Monroe recommended it in 
his message of 1823. " I trust you will not take, as I am told some legislative 
statesmen have done, the proposition mentioned in the message for abolishing 
private war upon the sea to be a mere offer to abolish privateering. You will 
understand it as it is meant, a project for the universal exemption of private 
property upon the ocean from depredation by war." John Quincy Adams to 
Robert Walsh, December 3, 1823. Ed.]: 

2 [The following has an historical interest in this connection. September 5, 
1861, Richard Cobden wrote to James Buchanan saying: "The subject of the 
blockade is becoming more and more serious. I am afraid we have ourselves to 
blame for not having placed the question of belligerent rights on a better footing." 
He then asked a question about the attitude of the United States towards the 
Declaration of Paris. Buchanan replied, December 14, 1861: "In reference to 
your question in regard to blockade, no administration within the last half-cen- 
tury, up to the end of my term, would have consented to a general declaration 
abolishing privateering. Our most effectual means of annoying a great naval 
power upon the ocean is by granting letters of marque and reprisal. We could not 
possibly, therefore, have consented to the Paris declaration which would have left 
the vessels (for example of Great Britain or France) free to capture our merchant 
vessels, whilst we should have deprived ourselves of the employment of the force 
which had proved so powerful in capturing their merchant vessels. Hence the 
proposition of Mr. Marcy to abolish war upon private property altogether on 
the ocean, as modern civilization had abolished it on the land." Works of James 
Buchanan (Moore), xi. 218, 234. Ed.] 


magnitude. Under such circumstances, it was plainly impossible 
to forecast all contingencies, and it was very open to question 
what policy might in certain exigencies prove the more ex- 
pedient; but, on the whole, it seemed to the administration 
wisest to endeavor to conciliate Europe. 

The question immediately arises, What was intended by the 
word " privateering " as used in the Declaration? On that 
would seem, in the present case, to have depended the attitude 
of the Diplomat at the time and the conclusions of the His- 
torian since; for on this point strange confusion runs through all 
the correspondence, memoirs and records. Nor is this con- 
fusion peculiar to our Civil War state papers and literature. 
It is, on the contrary, very noticeable in the writings con- 
nected with our anterior wars, both that of Independence and 
that of 1812-1815. In the earlier cases it clearly existed in the 
minds of those engaged in the discussion. In the case, how- 
ever, of the Civil War, the confusion was apparently due in 
quite as great a degree to a desire to ignore and confound 
manifest and well-recognized distinctions as to any real lack 
of a correct understanding of terms. 

Up to the middle of the last (nineteenth) century, there were 
various recognized forms of ocean depredation. 1 Enumer- 
ating these in order, they were carried on 

1. By pirates, so called, through what was known as "pi- 
racy." A familiar term, this calls for no definition. 

2. By what were known as " corsairs." 

3. By privateers, sailing in time of war under letters of 
marque issued by a belligerent. 

4. By regularly commissioned ships of war, belonging to a 
recognized belligerent, under whose flag they sailed. 

There has more recently come into existence a class of vessels 
known as " commerce destroyers," constructed not for combat 
primarily, but for the purpose of inflicting injury on the com- 
mercial marine of a hostile power with which the belligerent 
owning the "commerce destroyer" is at war. The term, how- 
ever, refers only to a type of naval construction. It in no way 

1 Throughout the preparation of this paper constant use has been made of 
Prof. J. Bassett Moore's invaluable Digest of International Law (1906), and es- 
pecially of the collection of authorities and material under the two heads of 
Privateers and the Declaration of Paris, vn. 535~5 8 3> secs - 1215-1221. Only 
in exceptional cases, therefore, is special reference made to this compendium. 


affects legal classification. The "commerce destroyer" is 
simply a public cruiser adapted to a specific purpose. 

On these distinctions the whole issue depends. In the minds, 
however, of those who carried on the negotiation of 1861, the 
distinctions do not seem to have been clear; and the failure 
then to observe, or the endeavor to ignore and obscure them, 
complicated the whole diplomatic situation, and at more than 
one juncture gravely threatened our foreign relations. 

The ownership of the vessel sailing under a letter of marque 
was, then, of the very essence of privateering. This, in 1861, 
established the distinguishing line; and so lay at the basis of 
Article I of the Declaration. The privateer thus held, so to 
speak, a betwixt-and-between position; a privately owned 
maritime adventure, its letter of marque, issued by a belliger- 
ent, gave it a legal status. But for that it would have been 
subject to treatment as a pirate. The distinction is, too, espe- 
cially important to be borne in mind while discussing the prob- 
lems which developed from the maritime operations conducted 
during the Civil War, inasmuch as the value of the privateer, 
and the inducement to "privateering," then depended on suc- 
cess in the capture of prizes; which prizes, when duly con- 
demned, were to be the plunder, or property, of the individual 
owner of the privateer. They did not, nor do they belong 
to the Government that issued the letters of marque under 
which the privateer sails. An individual venture, those con- 
cerned in the privateer were to a degree irresponsible. The 
point was very elaborately discussed later in the War, by 
Secretary Welles, in a series of letters addressed to Secretary 
Seward, when it was proposed to issue letters of marque to 
Union adventurers supposed to be anxious to chase the Con- 
federate cruisers. 1 

The preservation of the prize, with a view to its condemna- 
tion as such, is, therefore, the great and essential inducement 
to privateering. From mere commerce destruction the priva- 
teer gets no advantage. This it was, combined with the absence 
of any open port where condemnation proceedings were pos- 
sible, which almost at once put an end to the whole scheme of 
Confederate privateering. The obvious fact that it must so do 
was pointed out and emphasized by the first Confederate Com- 

1 Welles, Lincoln and Seward, 145-173; Diary, 1. 246-262. 


missioners — Yancey, Rost and Mann — as early as August 
14, 1861, in their elaborate communication to Earl Russell of 
that date. That Great Britain and France had closed their 
ports to prizes of Confederate privateers sailing under letters 
of marque, was in the following terms then made subject of 
grave remark and implied remonstrance: 

The undersigned, however, received with some surprise and re- 
gret, the avowal of Her Britannic Majesty's Government that in 
order to the observance of a strict neutrality, the public and private 
armed vessels of neither of the contending parties would be permitted 
to enter Her Majesty's ports with prizes. The undersigned do not 
contest the right of the British Government to make such regula- 
tions, but have been disposed to think that it has been unusual for 
Her Majesty's Government to exercise such right, and that in this 
instance the practical operation of the rule has been to favor the 
Government at Washington, and to cripple the exercise of an un- 
doubted public right of the Government of the Confederate States. 
This Government commenced its career entirely without a navy. 
Owing to the high sense of duty which distinguished the Southern 
Officers, who were lately in commission in the United States Navy, 
the ships which, otherwise, might have been brought into Southern 
ports, were honorably delivered up to the United States Government, 
and the Navy, built for the protection of the people of all the States, 
is now used by the Government at Washington to coerce the people 
and blockade the ports of one-third of the States of the late Union. 
The people of the Confederate States are an agricultural and not a 
manufacturing or commercial people. They own but few ships. 
Hence there has not been the least necessity for the Government at 
Washington to issue letters of marque. The people of the Confed- 
erate States have but few ships and not much commerce upon which 
such private armed vessels could operate. The commodities pro- 
duced in the Confederate States are such as the world needs more 
than any other, and the nations of the Earth have heretofore sent 
their ships to our wharves, and there the merchants buy and receive 
our cotton and tobacco. But it is far otherwise with the people of 
the present United States. They are a manufacturing and commer- 
cial people. They do a large part of the carrying trade of the world. 
Their ships and commerce afford them the sinews of war, and keep 
their industry afloat. To cripple their industry and commerce; to 
destroy their ships or cause them to be dismantled and tied up to 
their rotting wharves, are legitimate objects and means of warfare. 
Having no navy, no commercial marine, out of which to improvise 


public armed vessels to any considerable extent, the Confederate 
States were compelled to resort to the issuance of letters of marque, 
a mode of warfare as fully and as clearly recognized by the law and 
usage of nations, as any other arm of war; and most assuredly more 
humane and more civilized in its practice than that which appears 
to have distinguished the march of the troops of the Government 
of the United States upon the soil and among the villages of Vir- 
ginia. These facts tend to show that the practical working of the 
rule that forbids the entry of the public and private armed vessels 
of either party into British ports with prizes, operates exclusively to 
prevent the exercise of this legitimate mode of warfare by the Con- 
federate States, while it is to a great degree a practical protection 
to the commerce and ships of the United States. 

So much for privateers and privateering. A pirate, on the 
other hand, is a common enemy of mankind. He sails under 
no flag, and is responsible to no Government. A robber on the 
high seas, he is simply an outlaw. 1 

The public announcement, immediately after the firing on 
Sumter, that the Confederacy proposed to issue letters of 
marque naturally caused great alarm to the Union authorities, 
and the ship-owners of the loyal States. Under the conditions 
prevailing in April, May and June, 1861, it well might. W. H. 
Russell in his Diary gives a lively and picturesque account of 
the state of feeling then existing at Montgomery and of the 
views, knowledge and intentions of the Confederate authori- 
ties as respects letters of marque. What he then wrote did not 
at the time appear in his letters published in the Times; and 
that for obvious reasons. A neutral and a newspaper corre- 
spondent, he was under a well-understood obligation to disclose 
nothing, not already public, which would give information or 
contribute aid to the other party to the conflict. So in the 

1 Almost every known term of opprobrium can be found in the Civil War 
literature, official and private, applied to vessels sailing under the flag of the 
Confederacy. They are thus not infrequently designated " corsairs." This 
again was a misuse of terms; for, while a " corsair " is, strictly speaking, 
a " pirate," the word in general acceptance signifies a description of piratical 
craft long since passed out of existence. The corsair is especially associated with 
the Barbary Powers, so called, and preyed upon foreign commerce not protected 
by those powers; but vessels known as corsairs were, as a rule, commissioned 
by the Barbary States, and sailed under their flags. They in a way constituted 
a navy. The corsair passed out of existence about 1816 with the decay in power 
of the Barbary States. The pirate was simply exterminated, like other out- 
laws, robbers and free-booters. 


London Times of May 30th, what is now about to be quoted 
from the Diary, published eighteen months later, appeared 
only in the following compressed and extremely non-committal 
form: "On leaving the Secretary I proceeded to the room of the 
Attorney-General, Mr. Benjamin, a very intelligent and able 
man, whom I found busied in preparations connected with the 
issue of letters of marque. Everything in the office looked like 
earnest work and business." 

Dates are here important as bearing on the conditions then 
prevailing, and the consequent state of mind and feeling of 
those upon whom rested the responsibility for action. The 
brief extract just quoted appeared, it will be noticed, in the 
issue of the London Times of May 30th. On the 6th and 9th of 
the same month Russell was making in his Diary the following 
more detailed record: 

Mr. Benjamin [then acting as Attorney-General of the Confed- 
eracy] is the most open, frank, and cordial of the Confederates 
whom I have yet met. In a few seconds he was telling me all about 
the course of Government with respect to privateers and letters of 
marque and reprisal, in order probably to ascertain what were our 
views in England on the subject. I observed it was likely the North 
would not respect their flag, and would treat their privateers as 
pirates. "We have an easy remedy for that. For any man under 
our flag whom the authorities of the United States dare to execute, 
we shall hang two of their people." "Suppose, Mr. Attorney- 
General, England, or any of the great powers which decreed the 
abolition of privateering, refuses to recognize your flag?" "We in- 
tend to claim, and do claim, the exercise of all the rights and privi- 
leges of an independent sovereign State, and any attempt to refuse 
us the full measure of those rights would be an act of hostility to our 
country." "But if England, for example, declared your privateers 
were pirates?" "As the United States never admitted the principle 
laid down at the Congress of Paris, neither have the Confederate 
States. If England thinks fit to declare privateers under our flag 
pirates, it would be nothing more or less than a declaration of war 
against us, and we must meet it as best we can.". . . As I was going 
down stairs, Mr. Browne called me into his room. He said that 
the Attorney-General and himself were in a state of perplexity as 
to the form in which letters of marque and reprisal should be made out. 
They had consulted all the books they could get, but found no ex- 
amples to suit their case, and he wished to know, as I was a bar- 
rister, whether I could aid him. I told him it was not so much my 



regard to my own position as a neutral, as the vafri inscitia juris 
which prevented me throwing any light on the subject. There are 
not only Yankee ship-owners but English firms ready with sailors 
and steamers for the Confederate Government, and the owner of 
the Camilla might be tempted to part with his yacht by the offers 
made to him. [Mr. Browne had three days before assured Lord 
Russell that] the Government had already received numerous — 
I think he said four hundred — letters from ship-owners applying 
for letters of marque and reprisal. Many of these applications were 
from merchants in Boston, and other maritime cities in the New Eng- 
land States. 1 

In studying the history of what then occurred and the con- 
siderations which influenced the policy and utterances of those 
responsible, as were Davis and Seward, for the course of events, 
the foregoing is distinctly illuminating. It throws a penetrat- 
ing light on a condition of affairs now wholly matter of the past, 
but one necessary to bear in mind if the course pursued by those 
public characters is to be understood, much more if an historic 
justice is to be meted out to them. The essential fact is, and 
it is apparent from the foregoing extract, that in May, 1861, 
Judah P. Benjamin on the one side, and W. H. Seward on the 
other, took up a line of policy exactly where it had been dropped 
on the conclusion of the treaty of Ghent, in December, 18 14. 
Confronted by a new and quite unforeseen situation, they in- 
sensibly reverted to the state of affairs which had existed half 
a century before, and the methods adopted in dealing with it. 
They failed, and most naturally failed, to grasp the fact that 
nearly every condition had changed; and, consequently, they 
had to grope their way somewhat blindly and altogether tenta- 
tively to a realizing sense of this fact. During the intervening 
half-century steam had supplanted wind as the essential factor 
in naval operations; and this fact, under the international con- 
ditions which prevailed throughout our Civil War, set at naught 
all the hopes and anticipations of Mr. Benjamin, and, had he 
from the first fully realized what it implied, would have justi- 
fied Mr. Seward in dismissing his apprehensions, so far as injury 
from privateers was concerned. In other words, what Benjamin 
hoped for and Seward feared was the fitting out at individual 
cost in Confederate and neutral ports of a swarm of cruisers who 

1 Russell, My Diary, North and South, chapters xxii-xxm. 


would in view of the illicit profits to be derived therefrom prey 
on American commerce, repeating the experience of the wars 
anterior to 181 5. It was this class of venture to which the first 
article of the Declaration of Paris was meant to apply, — the 
fitting out and maintenance on the sea of privately owned 
cruisers sailing under letters of marque. It in no way applied 
to vessels, whether commerce destroyers or others, built, 
equipped, armed and commissioned by a recognized belligerent. 
As a matter of fact, therefore, and under the international con- 
ditions maintained throughout our Civil War, the provision 
of the Declaration of Paris inhibiting privateering, had it been 
in force, would have proved inoperative; and it would have 
proved inoperative simply because, contrary to the hopes and 
expectations of Mr. Benjamin on the one side, and the fears 
and apprehensions of Mr. Seward on the other, privateering, 
within the meaning of the Declaration of Paris, cut no figure. 

Why it thus cut no figure is obvious. The British and 
French proclamations of belligerency, and consequent neutrality, 
of May 13 and June 10, 1861, solved the difficulty and, though 
undesignedly, solved it under the altogether novel maritime 
conditions then existing in favor of the United States. Priva- 
teers sailing under letters of marque could then by the old and 
established maritime usage be fitted out in either neutral or 
Confederate ports, sailing therefrom. As matter of fact, how- 
ever, both were practically closed. The last, the Confederate 
ports, were closed by a blockade, made possible by steam, to 
either the egress of armed vessels, whether public or private, 
or the ingress of such vessels, or any prizes that might 
be captured by them. So long, therefore, as the blockade 
could be effectively maintained, or, in other words, so long as 
the European naval powers did not actively intervene to put 
an end to the ocean mastery of the Union, that source of danger 
was sealed up. Practically, also, the neutral ports were equally 
closed; for not only was the fitting out of privateers, as also of 
commissioned cruisers, in disregard of neutrality, and so illegal, 
but if an evasion of the law was successful or even connived at, 
the bringing in of prizes was forbidden. The entire inducement 
and incentive to privateering, in the sense of the Declaration 
of Paris, was thus cut off. So far as privateering, therefore, 
is concerned, whether with the ports of the Confederacy or 

11 28 3 73 


neutral ports as a basis, everything depended on the blockade, 
and the observance as respects prizes of foreign neutrality; 
and on that neutrality, and its continual observance, the block- 
ade itself was dependent. Consequently, everything in the 
struggle from the outset, privateering of course included, 
hinged on what is known as Sea Dominion. 

So far, however, as the present study is concerned, the one 
important result thus far reached is that, apparently, the first 
article of the Declaration of Paris had, under conditions then 
prevailing, so little practical application to maritime opera- 
tions during the Civil War as to constitute in them but a negligi- 
ble quantity. The Confederate commissioners in the extract 
just given from their communication to the British Foreign 
Secretary set forth the situation in terms of moderation when 
they said that the Southern States were " neither a manufac- 
turing nor a commercial people, . . . having no navy, no 
commercial marine, out of which to improvise public armed 
vessels to any considerable extent." Captain J. D. Bulloch, 
the Confederate naval agent and representative in Europe 
throughout the struggle, writing in 1883, stated the case far 
more correctly. He said: " It was impossible to build armored 
vessels in the Confederate States for operations on the coast; 
— neither the materials nor the mechanics were there; and be- 
sides, even if iron and skilled artisans had been within reach, 
there was not a mill in the country to roll the plates, nor furnaces 
and machinery to forge them, nor shops to make the engines." 1 
Under such conditions the most the Confederacy could accom- 
plish within itself was to construct rude floating batteries, 
propelled by most insufficient engines, and adapted to inland- 
water operations both defensive and offensive, — vessels of the 
type of the Virginia, at Norfolk, and the Tennessee, at Mobile, 
in no way fit for ocean service. Nor were conditions more 
favorable for the proper fitting out of a privateering fleet. Bul- 
loch subsequently wrote: "It is quite safe for me to state that 
at the beginning of the year 1861 there was not, within the whole 
boundary of the Confederacy, a single private yard having the 
plant necessary to build and equip a cruising ship of the most 
moderate offensive capacity." 2 

Under such conditions, domestic and foreign, Confederate 

1 Bulloch, Secret Service, 1. 380. 2 lb., 22. 


privateering within the meaning of the Declaration of Paris 
died an early and natural death. 1 As prizes could not, because 
of the blockade, be sent into Confederate ports for purpose of 
condemnation and sale, and as all foreign ports were closed to 
them, the inducement ceased to exist. The record of Confed- 
erate privateering proper can, therefore, be briefly recounted. 
Early in May, 186 1, at the outset of troubles, a rumor got 
abroad that an iron steamer, the Peerless, equipped on the 
Great Lakes, had been bought by the Confederate Govern- 
ment, preparatory to being sent to sea to operate on American 
commerce. Secretary Seward was at this time, as we now 
know, in an irritable state of mind, and one decidedly aggres- 
sive. The course of domestic events was not going as he had 
planned it should go; his position in the Cabinet was anomalous; 
his leadership was challenged; his influence, as the natural re- 
sult of frequent forecastings invariably proved mistaken in the 
result, was plainly waning both in Washington and the country 
at large. Temporarily, at any rate, his prestige was distinctly 
impaired. Not unnaturally, also, his views at this stage of the 
conflict as to the foreign policy best to be adopted under circum- 
stances altogether unprecedented were, to say the least, inchoate. 
So he, head of the Department of State, now sent a telegraphic 
order to all naval officers of the United States to seize the Peer- 
less " under any flag, and with any papers," if they had probable 
information that she had been sold to agents of the Confederacy. 
In consequence of a vigorous protest against such a high-handed 
measure immediately filed by the British Minister, the Secretary, 
however, the same day wrote to Lord Lyons that if the informa- 
tion on which action was taken "proved to be incorrect, full 
satisfaction will be promptly given." 2 And even in this formal 
paper the usual confusion of thought and expression was per- 
ceptible, for it was stated that the ship in question was rumored 
to have been sold to the de facto insurgent government "to be 
used as a privateer." There was a distinctly humorous ele- 
ment in the outcome of this initial episode, illustrative of the 
way in which important public business was then transacted. 
Lord Lyons in due time reported to Earl Russell, "It turned 
out that the ship had all the time been purchased by the 

1 Seward to Adams, May 28, 1862. Diplomatic Correspondence, 1862, 101. 

2 Parliamentary Paper, North America, No. 1, 1862, 31-33. 


United States government itself," and this purchase had been 
"the cause of proceedings of the vessel which were looked 
upon as suspicious." * 

So far as my investigations enable me to form an opinion, 
there is thus no case of a vessel actually going out from any 
foreign port equipped as a privateer to sail under Confederate 
letters of marque. In every instance the vessel so equipped and 
going to sea was the property of the Confederacy, commissioned 
as such, and intended to perform the part of a modern commerce 

The only privateers, properly so classified, which, sailing 
under letters of marque, appeared upon the ocean and com- 
mitted ravages on American commerce, were vessels equipped 
very early in the war in Confederate ports, and sent to sea 
therefrom. This phase of the struggle has been exhaustively 
and satisfactorily treated by J. T. Scharf in his History of the 
Confederate Navy. 2 The author, also, therein draws the dis- 
tinction already referred to: 

A privateer, as the name imports, is a private armed ship, fitted 
out at the owner's expense, but commissioned by a belligerent gov- 
ernment to capture the ships and goods of the enemy at sea, or the 
ships of neutrals when conveying to the enemy goods contraband of 
war. A privateer differs from a pirate in this, that the one has a 
commission and the other has none. A privateer is entitled to the 
same rights of war as the public vessels of the belligerent. A pirate 
ship has no rights, and her crew are liable to be captured and put 
to death by all nations, as robbers and murderers on the high seas. 

In examining the list in this book given of vessels fitted out 
and sailing from Confederate ports under letters of marque 
during the first summer of the War, it is curious to observe how 

1 Lyons to Russell, lb., 115. This was not the only or most important instance 
in which, during the early weeks of the Lincoln administration, the functions of 
the Navy Department were without consultation assumed by the Department of 
State. In the Welles Diary (1. 23-25) there is an interesting account of a similar 
proceeding, leading at a most critical juncture to consequences of far greater 
moment. Secretary Welles, probably with undue severity, subsequently wrote 
(Diary, 1. 204) of Mr. Seward: "He gets behind me, tampers with my subordi- 
nates, and interferes injuriously and ignorantly in naval matters, not so much 
from wrong purposes, but as a busybody by nature. I have not made these 
matters subjects of complaint outside and think it partly the result of usage and 
practice at Albany." See, also, lb., 11. 160. 

2 Chapter iv, 53-93. Second edition. 1894. 


closely the traditions of 1812-1815 were followed. The vessels 
were in greatest part mere schooners, hastily equipped and 
insufficiently armed. Fifty years behind the times, and rely- 
ing solely on canvas, they were at the mercy of ships pro- 
pelled by steam. The following is, for instance, an individual 

The revenue cutter Aiken, which had been seized in Charleston 
by the authorities of South Carolina before the firing on Fort Sumter, 
was fitted out as a privateer, and called the Petrel, and placed under 
the command of Capt. Wm. Perry. On July 27th the privateer 
schooner sailed out of Charleston, and stood for the U. S. frigate 
St. Lawrence, which she mistook for a merchantman, as all her ports 
were closed. When the Petrel got within range she fired three shots 
without doing any damage. The St. Lawrence returned with shot 
and shell a terrific fire, one shell exploding in the hull of the Petrel, 
and sinking her instantly. The boats of the frigate were lowered, and 
picked up thirty-six out of forty of the privateer's crew, who were 
taken aboard, and their feet and hands heavily manacled. The 
remaining four were drowned. 1 

During the first months of the war, and before the blockade 
became really effective, quite a number of these privateers got 
to sea, and some of their captures — sent into Confederate 
ports — were there duly condemned and sold. Others were 
released after being bonded; but the greatest number of ves- 
sels captured were scuttled and otherwise destroyed. The 
injury thus sustained by the United States merchant marine 
was undoubtedly considerable, but in largest part due to the 
alarm occasioned, and the immediate consequent transfer of 
American shipping to foreign ownership. As the war progressed 
and the blockade became more effective, conditions produced 
their natural results. Privateering was abandoned as both 
perilous and unprofitable, and the maritime activity and spirit 
of adventure of the Confederacy turned in the direction of 
blockade running as at once less dangerous and far more remun- 
erative. Privateering within the scope of Article I of the 
Treaty of Paris may, therefore, be said to have ceased to be a 
factor in the operations of the Civil War by the close of 186 1. 2 

1 Scharf, 86. 

2 "In the Civil War . . . the rebel government offered its letters of marque; 
but, as nearly all the maritime powers had warned their subjects that if they 
served in privateers in the war, their governments would not interfere to protect 


Premising these distinctions, principles and facts, it is now 
proper to return to the narrative and the sequence of events. 

The British proclamation of belligerency, as it is called, or 
more properly the proclamation of neutrality in the conflict 
which had developed, with the recognition of a belligerent 
character in both parties thereto, was made public in London 
during the week (May 15, 1861) following Mr. Russell's visit 
at the office of Attorney- General Benjamin, at Montgomery; 
and Secretary Seward was simultaneously formulating a policy, 
the circular in relation to the accession of the United States to 
the Declaration of Paris having been sent out on the 24th of 
April, or some three weeks before. 

In the interim had occurred the tumultuous popular uprising 
of the loyal States consequent upon the attack on Sumter. The 
stage of incertitude and resulting panic had passed away, 
troops, such as they were, were pouring into Washington, and 
the country was well entered on the intermediate, over-confident 
and self-inflated stage of the conflict referred to in the earlier 
portion of this paper. Secretary Seward shared to the full in 
these feelings, and that he did so was manifest both in his 
utterances and his official despatches. Acting, it would appear, 
under the impulse of the moment, and without sufficiently in- 
forming himself as to the character of the action taken by the 
British Government, or the consequences to be apprehended 
therefrom, Mr. Seward not only now assumed high ground, but 
the ground by him taken could by no possibility be maintained 
unless the most sanguine anticipations of the Union authorities 
were fulfilled in the immediate future, those anticipations in no 
way making provision for an unexpected adverse catastrophe. 

them, and as the United States had threatened to treat such persons as pirates, 
and the naval power of the United States was formidable, no avowedly foreign 
private armed vessels took letters of marque; and the ostensibly Confeder- 
ate vessels were commissioned as of its regular navy." Dana, Wheaton, 456ft. 
"One popular error pervades all which has been said or written, on both sides of 
the line, about the Confederate navy. This is the general title of 'privateer' 
given to all vessels not cooped up in southern harbors. . . . There was a law 
passed, regulating the issue of letters of marque; and from time to time much 
was heard of these in the South. But [with the exception of the] "Jeff Davis" 
not more than two or three ever found their way to sea, and even these accom- 
plished nothing. At one time, a company with heavy capital was gotten up in 
Richmond, for the promotion of such enterprises; but it was looked upon as a 
job and was little successful in any sense." De Leon, Four Years in Rebel 
Capitals, 262. 


Accordingly, the Secretary (May 17th) set to work drafting 
what he while engaged upon it described in a familiar letter to 
a member of his family as a "bold remonstrance before it is too 
late." x His remonstrance took the form of the despatch No. 10 
of May 21st, addressed to Mr. Adams. 2 It is unnecessary for 
present purposes to refer to it in detail. It is sufficient to say 
that upon its receipt and first perusal Mr. Adams wrote in his 
Diary: "The Government seems almost ready to declare war 
with all the powers of Europe, and almost instructs me to with- 
draw from communication with the ministers here in a certain 
contingency. ... I scarcely know how to understand Mr. 
Seward. The rest of the Government may be demented for all 
I know; but he surely is calm and wise. My duty here is in 
so far as I can do it honestly to prevent the irritation from 
coming to a downright quarrel. It seems to me like throwing 
the game into the hands of the enemy." 3 In the despatch re- 
ferred to the Secretary, in addition to the suppression of domes- 
tic insurrection, contemplated as possible if not immediately 
impending, a war "between the United States and one, two, or 
even more European nations," — a conflict of which he now 
wrote to his wife, "it will be dreadful, but the end will be sure 
and swift." The despatch was, in fact, a general defiance thrown 
forth to governments throughout the world, whether avowedly 
unfriendly or assumed to be so! 4 

1 Seward at Washington, 11. 575-576. 

2 The general tenor of this despatch was known at the time to Lord Lyons. 
He wrote concerning it to Lord John Russell, under date of May 23d, as follows : 
"Upon receiving the intelligence of your Lordship's declaration in Parliament, 
Mr. Seward drew up a despatch to Mr. Adams to be communicated to your Lord- 
ship in terms still stronger than any he had before used. I fear that the President 
has consented to its being sent, on condition, however, that it is to be left to Mr. 
Adams's discretion to communicate it or not, as he may think advisable. If 
sent, it will probably reach London about the same time with this despatch." 
{Parliamentary Paper, 1862, 39.) This despatch reached the Foreign Office 
June 4th; the despatch referred to in it did not reach the Legation in London 
until six days later, June 10th. L?e also Parliamentary Paper (1862), 115, where, 
just at the crisis of the Trent affair (December 25, 1861), the attention of Earl 
Russell is called by Lord Lyons to Mr. Seward's despatch of May 21, then just 
made public in the printed diplomatic correspondence accompanying the message 
of the President. 

3 Ms. Diary, Monday, June 10, 1861. 

4 During the earlier portions of the Lincoln administration, largely through the 
influence of the Secretary of State, no regular Cabinet meetings were held. Mr. 
Welles asserts in his Diary (1. 138) that "Many of the important measures, par- 



In this despatch as originally drawn and submitted to the 
President, the Secretary, reflecting the mood and expectations 
of the hour, among much else observed that " after long for- 
bearance, designed to soothe discontent and avert the need 
of civil war, the land and naval forces of the United States 
have been put in motion to repress the insurrection. The 
true character of the pretended new State is at once revealed. 
It is seen to be a Power existing in pronunciamento only." x 

In preparing this puzzling, if not now well-nigh incompre- 
hensible state paper, couched in language plainly calculated to 
provoke and precipitate a foreign crisis, one thing only is 
obvious, — the Secretary of State was, in plain English, dis- 
counting a wholly successful outcome of the movements of the 
land and naval forces of the United States then preparing to be 
put in immediate " motion to repress the insurrection." So 
much is manifest. What, however, was implied by the obser- 
vation in the paragraph immediately succeeding that from 
which the extract just given is quoted, is less apparent. The 
Secretary went on to assert that in certain contingencies then 
regarded as of more than probable occurrence "the laws of 

ticularly of his own Department, [Mr. Seward] managed to dispose of or contrived 
to have determined independent of the Cabinet." See also lb., i. 134, 154, 203, 
274. So far as anywhere appears, this course was followed with respect to the 
despatch of May 21. It was never submitted to the Cabinet, and, while rumors 
of its purport were current, knowledge of its details seems at the time to have 
been confined to the Secretary, Mr. Lincoln, and Mr. Sumner, Chairman of the 
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, who was consulted by the President in 
regard to it. No reference to what then occurred is found in Pierce's Life of 
Sumner. A year later, however, when a concerted move was made by the Re- 
publican Senators to bring about the dismissal of Secretary Seward from the 
Cabinet, much emphasis was laid upon this despatch, portions of which had been 
published in the Diplomatic Correspondence of the previous year. In his Diary 
Secretary Welles says that during the discussion which took place, December 20, 
1862, between the committee of nine Senators and the President and members 
of his Cabinet, the volume of Diplomatic Correspondence was alluded to; "some 
letters denounced as unwise and impolitic were specified, one of which, a con- 
fidential despatch to Mr. Adams, was read. If it was unwise to write, it was 
certainly injudicious and indiscreet to publish such a document." {Diary, 1. 
198; Lincoln and Seward, 76.) The Secretary of State was at this time very 
generally accused of transmitting despatches of importance to the foreign rep- 
resentatives without previously submitting them to the President. A case in 
point was developed at this conference, Mr. Lincoln expressing great surprise 
when his attention was called by Senator Sumner to a certain despatch in the 
printed Diplomatic Correspondence (that to Mr. Adams, July 5, 1862), disclaiming 
any knowledge of it. Pierce, iv. in. 
1 Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln^, iv. 273. 


nations afford an adequate and proper remedy, and we shall 
avail ourselves of it." Clearly a threat, what that threat sig- 
nified is still matter of inference. 

Though a lawyer by calling, and as such in a way eminent, 
Mr. Seward did not possess what is known as a legal mind, much 
less one of judicial cast. Long retired from active practice, he 
had never given any particular attention to the problems and 
collection of usages which make up the body of what is denomi- 
nated International Law. He now also freely admitted to his 
Cabinet colleagues that, though almost daily called upon to 
deal with novel and intricate international issues, he never 
opened the treatises, and "that he was too old to study." One 
of his associates (Blair) did not hesitate to say that in his 
opinion the Secretary of State knew "less of public law than 
any man who ever held a seat in the Cabinet"; while another 
(Welles) put on record his surprise to find him "so little ac- 
quainted with the books," 1 and a third (Bates) pronounced him 
"no lawyer and no statesman." 2 Sumner, whose own concep- 
tions of international usage were distinctly nebulous, averred 
that Seward knew nothing of it; and apparently without consult- 
ing so familiar an authority as Wheaton, the Secretary of State 
depended for his conclusions on the chief clerk of the Depart- 
ment and a few unofficial advisers of questionable authority. 3 
What, however, Mr. Seward now distinctly implied, was that, 
should Great Britain give shelter from our pursuit and punish- 

1 Allowance must always be made in case of statements found in the Welles 
Diary as respects Mr. Seward. Referring, however, to his lack of acquaintance 
with the principles of international law, Mr. Welles wrote as follows, under a date 
as late as January 30, 1865 : "He told me last week that he had looked in no book 
on international law or admiralty law since he entered on the duties of his present 
office. His thoughts, he says, come to the same conclusions as the writers and 
students. This he has said to me more than once. In administrating the govern- 
ment he seems to have little idea of constitutional and legal restraints, but acts 
as if the ruler was omnipotent. Hence he has involved himself in constant diffi- 
culties." Diary, 11. 232. 

2 Welles, Diary, 1. 170, 233, 275, 285; 11. 93. 

3 "[Seward] has, with all his bustle and activity, but little application; relies 
on Hunter and his clerk, Smith, ... to sustain him and hunt up his author- 
ities." Welles, Diary, 1. 275. "Whiting, Solicitor of the War Department, has 
gone to Europe. Is sent out by Seward, I suppose. . . . [William Whiting is] 
such a man as Stanton would select and Seward use." lb., 381, 544; 11. 85. 
William Whiting then occupied the position of solicitor of the War Department. 
Caleb Cushing, whose loyalty at this time was not above suspicion, also seems 
to have been an unofficial adviser. lb., 1. 275. 


ment to those whom she declared "lawful belligerents," but 
who being our citizens we adjudged to be "pirates," the law 
of nations would justify the United States in pursuing such 
miscreants into neutral harbors and there destroying them. 
The proposition was certainly "bold," — not to say startling. 1 

1 This would seem to be the unavoidable inference to be drawn from the de- 
spatches of Secretary Seward connected with events of subsequent occurrence. 
On the night of October 6, 1864, the Confederate cruiser Florida was run down 
by the United States cruiser Wachusett in the harbor of Bahia, Brazil, and sub- 
sequently towed out to sea and carried to Hampton Roads, as prize. In this case 
there was no controversy as to facts. The whole proceeding was high-handed, and 
in manifest violation of recognized principles of international law. As such it led 
to formal representations on behalf of Brazil to which Secretary Seward replied 
under date of December 20, 1864. The correspondence can be found in the 
"British Case" prepared for the Geneva Arbitration (75-78) and in Bulloch's 
Secret Service of the Confederate States in Europe (1. 199-224). In his reply to the 
reclamation of the Brazilian Minister Secretary Seward then wrote that the 
Florida, "like the Alabama, was a pirate, belonging to no nation or lawful bellig- 
erent, and therefore that the harbouring and supplying of these piratical ships 
and their crews in Brazilian ports were wrongs and injuries for which Brazil 
justly owes reparation to the United States." The Secretary further denied that 
the "insurgents of this country are a lawful naval belligerent; and, on the con- 
trary, it maintains that the ascription of that character by the Government of 
Brazil to insurgent citizens of the United States, who have hitherto been, and 
who still are, destitute of naval forces, ports, and courts, is an act of intervention 
in derogation of the law of nations, and unfriendly and wrongful, as it is mani- 
festly injurious, to the United States." 

In the preceding year, in a despatch from Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams (Diplo- 
matic Correspondence, 1863, Part I. 309-310) relating to the recent decision in 
the case of the Alexandra, Mr. Seward wrote as follows: "If the law of Great 
Britain must be left without amendment, and be construed by the government in 
conformity with the rulings of the chief baron of the exchequer, then there wiJl be 
left for the United States no alternative but to protect themelves and their com- 
merce against armed cruisers proceeding from British ports, as against the naval 
forces of a public enemy; and also to claim and insist upon indemnities for the in- 
juries which all such expeditions have hitherto committed or shall hereafter 
commit against this government and the citizens of the United States. To this 
end this government is now preparing a naval force with the utmost vigor; and if 
the national navy, which it is rapidly creating, shall not be sufficient for the 
emergency, then the United States must into employment such private 
armed naval forces as the mercantile marine shall afford. . . . Can it be an occa- 
sion for either surprise or complaint that if this condition of things is to remain 
and receive the deliberate sanction of the British government, the navy of the 
United States will receive instructions to pursue these enemies into the ports 
which thus, in violation of the law of nations and the obligations of neutrality, 
become harbors for the pirates?" In connection with these extracts it should be 
observed that the first — that relating to the Florida — occurred at the close of 
December, 1864, when the Civil War was rapidly drawing to a close. The corre- 
spondence, in this case, was submitted to the Cabinet, and the despatch to the 
Brazilian minister was approved (Welles, Diary, 11. 184-186, 197). There is no 


Coming, however, to the final paragraph in the extracts 
from the despatch of May 21st — that relating to the Treaty 
of Paris — it will be noted that the Secretary referred to it as 
"abolishing privateering everywhere in all cases and forever"; 
he then went on as follows: "You already have our authority 
to propose to [Great Britain] our accession to that declara- 
tion. If she refuse to receive it, it can only be because she is 
willing to become the patron of privateering when aimed at 
our devastation." 1 

We now come to the true inwardness of the present discus- 
sion. What did Seward mean by this language? What was 
he driving at? Did he speak in good faith? — or did he have 
an ulterior and undisclosed end always in view, that end to be 
attained by indirection? The study becomes interesting, for 
it is necessarily made from the dramatis personae point of view. 
It involves the correct reading of the individual character of 
eminent men at a very critical period historically. What then 
was Seward proposing to himself? What considerations actu- 
ated Earl Russell in the course he was presently to take? How 
did Mr. Adams, Lord Lyons and Mr. Dayton, who bore the 
subordinate parts in the drama, demean themselves? 

Seward is primarily to be considered and disposed of. His 
was the leading part. He had in the first place announced that 
dealing with the privateers sailing under Confederate letters 
of marque was a matter within the exclusive prerogative of the 
United States, the Confederacy then (May 21st) not being a 
recognized belligerent; and the United States proposed, by 
virtue of its municipal law, to treat the privateers as pirates. 

evidence that the previous despatch to Mr. Adams, of July 11, 1863, was sub- 
mitted to the Cabinet or had been approved by the President before transmission. 
It was not communicated by Mr. Adams to Earl Russell; and when it subse- 
quently appeared in the United States Diplomatic Correspondence, "a storm was 
raised in the House of Commons. This was not calmed until Earl Russell claimed 
that as the despatch had never been laid before him, he had been spared the diffi- 
culty and pain of giving an appropriate answer to it." (Bancroft, Seward, 11. 
390.) While the Secretary naturally hesitated to advance such a claim as an 
accepted principle of international law, he seems not to have been unwilling 
vaguely to imply as much, venturing on no specific proposition. The threat of 
a recourse to privateering in certain contingencies which must inevitably have 
ensued had the action taken by the Wachusett been ventured upon under in- 
structions in British waters, was expressed in language which could not be termed 
even diplomatically veiled. 

1 Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln, iv. 273. 


Seward's scheme unquestionably was, by an adroit though 
somewhat transparent move on the diplomatic chess-board, to 
force the neutral maritime powers into a position inconsistent 
with the law, — whether international or of humanity; that is, 
he proposed by giving notice as prescribed to secure the acces- 
sion of this country to the stipulations of the Treaty of Paris 
under which privateering was abolished, and then the United 
States was, as the sole recognized sovereign nationality, to de- 
mand of the Powers that " privateering [being] everywhere and 
in all cases and forever" abolished, the Powers must refuse 
access to their ports to the Confederate " pirates," as he 
designated them. Thus reducing them into the class of crim- 
inals or outlaws, — as such to be summarily dealt with. 

Such was Seward's scheme, as it first assumed shape in his 

Yet, again, the matter of dates now becomes important. 
Seward took the initial step leading to this position April 24th, 
— twelve days only after the attack on Sumter. He then noti- 
fied the proposed accession of the United States to the Decla- 
ration of Paris. The Confederacy had not up to that time any- 
where been recognized as a belligerent; and, that being the case, 
Seward assumed that the United States, being the ''exclusive 
sovereign," rightfully and as of course spoke internationally 
for the so-called Confederacy as well as for itself. 

Unfortunately for the practical working of this theory, 
Great Britain and France, acting in co-operation at this junc- 
ture, recognized the Confederacy as a belligerent; and then, 
under all accepted rules of international law, the new belliger- 
ent had a right to carry on its operations on water as on land. 

Here was a new and somewhat irritating as well as extremely 
perplexing issue; and again Seward took high ground. As fore- 
shadowed in his despatch No. 10, he now insisted that the Con- 
federacy was not a belligerent in any full sense of the term until 
acknowledged as such by the sovereign power of the United 
States. Writing to Mr. Dayton at this time Mr. Seward thus 
expressed himself, in a despatch marked "strictly confidential": 

You seem to us to have adopted the idea that the insurgents are 
necessarily a belligerent power because the British and French Gov- 
ernments have chosen in some of their public papers to say that they 
are so. . . . Our view is on the contrary. . . . We do not admit, 


and we shall never admit, even the fundamental statement you as- 
sume, namely, that Great Britain and France have recognized the 
insurgents as a belligerent party. True, you say that they have so 
declared. We reply: Yes, but they have not declared so to us. You 
may rejoin: Their public declaration concludes the fact. We never- 
theless reply: It must be not their declarations, but their action 
that shall conclude the fact. That action does not yet appear, and 
we trust, for the sake of harmony with them and peace throughout 
the world, that it will not happen. 1 

Accordingly, he vaguely claimed that the United States, 
not acknowledging the Confederacy as a belligerent, could 
treat as it saw fit vessels commissioned by the Montgomery 
government as privateers; and, privateers being abolished by 
the Declaration of Paris, they consequently became pirates. 
Having thus fixed their status, he further distinctly intimated 
an intention to claim that they could be pursued into neutral 
ports, and there destroyed as common enemies of mankind. 2 

Such was apparently the line of procedure somewhat vaguely 
formulated in Seward's mind; the ultimate step of which he 
held in reserve throughout what are known as the negotiations 
relating to the Declaration of Paris, now gravely entered upon. 

So much for Secretary Seward. It is now necessary to turn 
to the other parties to that negotiation; and first, Earl Russell. 

In the earliest of the discussions which took place in the 
Commons (May 2, 1861) after the firing on Sumter, Lord John 
Russell, as he then was, used the striking expression that Great 
Britain had nothing to do with the American troubles, and 
added, "For God's sake, let us, if possible, keep out of them!" 
As a statement of fact also, and proposition of international 
usage, Lord John Russell stood on firm ground when he further 
at this juncture said in the Commons: " a power or a community 
(call it which you will) which [is] at war with another, and which 

1 Moore, International Law Digest, vn. 574. 

2 In the case of the Florida the commander of the Wachusett had acted on his 
own responsibility. His proceeding was therefore disavowed with expressions of 
regret; and this was to be regarded as " ample reparation" in view of "the en- 
during sense of injuries" entertained by the United States. Had, however, the 
violation of neutrality taken place by order under the conditions set forth in the 
despatch to Mr. Adams of July 11, 1863, the law of nations "afforded an adequate 
and proper remedy," that remedy being apparently an offer of ample though 
formal reparation, accompanied, of course, in proper cases, by a suitable money 
indemnity. See, also, Welles, Diary, 11. 185, 197. 


[covers] the sea with its cruisers, must either be acknowledged 
as a belligerent, or dealt with as a pirate." * The issue was clear 
and made up. President Lincoln had by proclamation an- 
nounced that those captured on Confederate cruisers or priva- 
teers were to be dealt with as pirates. These utterances of 
Lord John clearly foreshadowed the position of neutrality the 
British Government, of which he was in this matter the mouth- 
piece, proposed to assume. That Government was, however, 
most distrustful of Secretary Seward personally. Those com- 
posing it very generally suspected that he intended to excite 
some grave foreign complication in order to bring about a 
domestic reconciliation. With this possibility in mind, Lord 
John Russell had written to Lord Lyons as long before as Feb- 
ruary 20 th, as follows: "Supposing, however, that Mr. Lin- 
coln, acting under bad advice, should endeavor to provide 
excitement for the public mind by raising questions with Great 
Britain, Her Majesty's Government feel no hesitation as to the 
policy they would pursue. . . . They would take care to let 
the Government which multiplied provocations and sought for 
quarrels understand that their forbearance sprung from the con- 
sciousness of strength and not from the timidity of weakness." 
The British Secretary did not err in this surmise. The idea 
of a foreign complication as a counter-irritant was, as we now 
know, distinctly in Seward's mind, even at that early date 
(February, 1861). Philosophizing on this problem in the 
measured language characteristic of his writings, Mr. Rhodes 
says of the Secretary's mental condition four months later: 

The infatuation of Seward is hard to understand; it shows that 
the notion which had prompted the "Thoughts for the President's 
Consideration" still lodged in his brain, and that he dreamed that 
if the United States made war on England because she helped the 
Confederacy, the Southerners, by some occult emotional change, 
would sink their animosity to the North, and join with it for the sake 
of overcoming the traditional enemy. His unconcern at the prospect 
of serious trouble with England was not courage, but a recklessness 
which made him oblivious of what all discerning Northern statesmen 
knew — that the people devoted to the Union had undertaken quite 
enough, in their endeavor to preserve the nation from destruction by 
its internal foes. 2 

1 Walpole, Twenty-five Years, II. 41. 2 Rhodes, HI. 424. 


In other words, Seward seems to have shared to the full in the 
condition of mental intoxication in which the loyal North in- 
dulged during the hundred days between Sumter and Bull 
Run. The distrust of him, therefore, privately entertained at 
that time in diplomatic circles and the departments of 
foreign affairs was well founded; far more so than was gener- 
ally known, or in America even surmised until the Nicolay- 
Hay revelations of twenty years later. Lord Lyons, however, 
at once advised Earl Russell of Seward's scheme in the 
Declaration of Paris move. In a despatch dated June 4th, 
and received in London June 14th, he wrote: 

" It is probable that Mr. Adams may, before this despatch reaches 
your Lordship, have offered, on the part of this Government, to ad- 
here to Art. 1 of the Declaration of Paris as well as to the others and 
thus to declare privateering to be abolished. There is no doubt that 
this adherence will be offered in the expectation that it will bind the 
Governments accepting it to treat the privateers of the Southern 
Confederacy as pirates. ... At the present moment, however, the 
privateers are in full activity, and have met with considerable suc- 
cess. It is not, therefore, to be expected that the Southern Confed- 
eracy will relinquish the employment of them, otherwise than on 
compulsion or in return for some great concession from France and 
England." He further added this caution: "It seems to me to be 
far from certain that the United States Congress would ratify the 
abolition of privateering; nor do I suppose that the Cabinet will abide 
by its proposal when it finds that it will gain" nothing towards the 
suppression of the Southern privateering by doing so." 

The ultimate purpose of Seward's move on the international 
chess-board was, therefore, understood in the British Foreign 
Office; and, of course, Earl Russell did not propose to be 
unwittingly a victim of it. Accordingly, under date of July 
12, 1861, he was thus writing to Edward Everett in Boston, 
knowing well that the latter was in correspondence with Mr. 
Adams in London: 

I respect the unanimous feeling of the North, and still more the 
resolution not to permit the extension of Slavery which led to the 
election of President Lincoln. But with regard to our own course 
I must say something more. There were according to your account 
eight millions of freemen in the Slave States. Of these millions up- 



wards of five have been for some time in open revolt against the 
President and Congress of the United States. It is not our practice 
to treat five millions of freemen as pirates, and to hang their sailors 
if they stop our merchantmen. But unless we meant to treat them 
as pirates and to hang them, we could not deny them belligerent 
rights. This is what you and we did in the case of the South American 
Colonies of Spain. Your own President and Courts of Law decided 
this question in the case of Venezuela. 1 

Meanwhile, Seward, by what has always, for some reason not 
at once apparent, passed for a very astute proceeding, 2 caused 

1 Adams Mss. Enclosure in Everett to Adams, August 20, 1861. Proceed- 
ings, xlv. 76, 77. 

[In view of the correspondence which is known to have passed between the 
Premier and the Editor of the Times just prior to the Trent affair, four months 
later, it is safe to assume that the Times was at this juncture directly inspired from 
Government sources. In its editorial columns of the issue of May 15th, the 
following comment appeared on the Proclamation of Belligerency, then just 

"The North sees in the Southern States rebels against its authority, and will 
probably, at first at least, decline to recognize the validity of Letters of Marque 
issued under the authority of President Jefferson Davis. The South will not be 
slow to retaliate, and it may easily be anticipated that there will be a disposition 
on both sides to treat those crews of privateers who may fall into their hands as 
pirates, to whom the license they bear gives no protection. What would be the 
conduct of the British Government under such circumstances? Suppose an 
Englishman taken on board a Southern privateer to be hanged under a sentence 
of a Court of Admiralty at New York, — what would be the conduct of the Gov- 
ernment in this country? The answer of the Proclamation to the question is by 
no means encouraging. Persons enlisting in such service will do so at their peril 
and of their own wrong, and will in no wise obtain any protection from us against 
any liabilities or penal consequences. It will be observed that in this place the 
word ' such ' is omitted. The liabilities and penal consequences are not confined 
to those under the Act or under the law of nations, but are left wide .and unde- 
fined, as if on purpose to impress the very case we are supposing. . . . We have 
done our duty if we distinctly point out that those Englishmen who, in defiance 
of the laws of their country and the solemn warnings of their Sovereign, rush into 
this execrable conflict will do so with direct notice that if they meet with enemies 
as reckless and merciless as themselves, they must bear the fate that awaits them, 
without any hope that the country whose laws they have broken will stretch forth 
her arm to shield them from the consequences of their own folly and wickedness. 
. . . The warning has been given in time; we hope and believe that it will prove 
effectual, and that the horrors of a civil war between brethren will not be aggra- 
vated by the uncalled-for intervention of the subjects of the parent State." 

It would thus appear that from the commencement Great Britain was upon its 
guard. Under the circumstances, it was not proposed to protect British subjects 
therein concerned in case privateering was visited with the penalty of piracy. On 
the other hand, the British Government did not propose, through a deferred adhe- 
sion to the Treaty of Paris by the United States, to be drawn into a denial of 
right of asylum to a recognized belligerent. Ed.] 

2 Seward at Washington, n. 581; Bancroft, Seward, 11. 181. 


a transfer of the whole negotiation from Washington to London 
and Paris, — that is, he refused to see the representatives of 
France and Great Britain together, and under instructions act- 
ing jointly in reference to the accession of the United States 
to the Declaration of Paris; and by so doing caused the ne- 
gotiations to pass out of his own hands into those of his 
two representatives in Europe, Mr. Adams and Mr. Dayton. 1 
They, July 6th, were instructed accordingly, and proceeded to 

Dates and conditions must again be borne in mind. The 
instructions to negotiate on the basis of the treaty of Paris 
"pure and simple," bore date of July 6th, just fifteen days 
before the battle of Bull Run, and when the movement which 
led to that disaster was fully decided upon and in active prepa- 
ration. So far as foreign relations were concerned, Seward was 
then still riding a very high horse, — the No. 10 charger, in 
fact, he had mounted on the 21st of the previous May. We 
get a vivid and exceedingly life-like glimpse of him, his attitude 
and way of talking at just this juncture through Russell's 
Diary. The Times special correspondent there describes how 
on July 4th — while the despatches ordering the Declaration of 
Paris negotiations to proceed were yet on Mr/ Seward's table, 
to go out two days later — he (Russell) called at the Depart- 
ment of State. He reports the impression in the course of that 
interview made on him by Seward, recording his language thus: 

" We are dealing with an insurrection within our own country, of 
our own people, and the Government of Great Britain have thought 

1 "Mr. Seward said at once that he could not receive from us a communica- 
tion founded on the assumption that the Southern rebels were to be regarded as 
belligerents; that this was a determination to which the Cabinet had come deliber- 
ately; that he could not admit that recent events had in any respect altered the 
relations between foreign Powers and the Southern States; that he would not 
discuss the question with us, but that he should give instructions to the United 
States Ministers in London and Paris, who would be thus enabled to state the 
reasons for the course taken by their Government to your Lordship and to M. 
Thouvenel, if you should be desirous to hear them. 

"'That is to say,' observed M. Mercier, 'you prefer to treat the question in 
Paris and London rather than with us here.' 

"'Just so/ said Mr. Seward; 'and he proceeded to tell us that he should be 
very much obliged if we would, on our side, leave with him, for his own use only, 
our instructions, in order that he might be able to write his despatches to London 
and Paris with a certainty that he did not misapprehend the views of our Govern- 
ments.'" Lord Lyons to Lord John Russell, June 17, 1861. 


fit to recognize that insurrection before we were able to bring the 
strength of the Union to bear against it, by conceding to it the status 
of belligerent. Although we might justly complain of such an un- 
friendly act in a manner that might injure the friendly relations be- 
tween the two countries, we do not desire to give any excuse for 
foreign interference; although we do not hesitate, in case of necessity, 
to resist it to the uttermost, we have less to fear from a foreign war 
than any country in the world. If any European Power provokes a 
war, we shall not shrink from it. A contest between Great Britain 
and the United States would wrap the world in fire, and at the end 
it would not be the United States which would have to lament the 
results of the- conflict." 

I could not but admire the confidence — may I say the coolness? 
— of the statesman who sat in his modest little room within the sound 
of the enemy's guns, in a capital menaced by their forces who spoke 
so fearlessly of war with a Power which could have blotted out the 
paper blockade of the Southern ports and coast in a few hours, and, 
in conjunction with the Southern armies, have repeated the occupa- 
tion and destruction of the capital. 

To the historical investigator of 191 2 the foregoing account 
of a familiar talk with Secretary Seward in July, 1861, just a 
fortnight before the disaster at Bull Run, is distinctly sugges- 
tive; as also is Russell's comment on what then passed. To 
us who, seeing before and after, look back on the situation at 
that period, it is curious to consider what possibilities were in 
the mind of Secretary Seward when he thus, speaking for the 
United States, calmly contemplated the contingency of a war 
with the two leading naval powers of Europe, imposed upon 
the somewhat gigantic task of suppressing a domestic insurrec- 
tion in which eleven distinct political communities were con- 
cerned, representing eight millions of population. We now 
know, and it would seem as if Secretary Seward could at the 
time hardly have failed to realize, that the task of suppressing 
the insurrection alone taxed to the utmost both the strength 
and the spirit of persistence of that portion of the United States 
which remained loyal to the Union. We also now appreciate 
the strategic fact that every vital military operation involved 
in that gigantic effort depended on maritime control. 1 From 
the capture of New Orleans by Farragut, through Sherman's 
march to the sea to Lee's surrender at Appomattox, it may 

1 2 Proceedings, xix. 311-326. 


with safety be asserted that, with the exception of the Vicks- 
burg and Chattanooga operations, there was not one even con- 
siderable operation which would have, been possible had the 
national government been unable to sustain itself as the domi- 
nant sea power. This, as respects the domestic situation. And 
yet in July, 1861, Secretary Seward did not hesitate to profess 
his implicit confidence in the ability of the national government 
both to overcome the Confederacy and successfully to meet any 
possible combination of European nations, or, as he himself 
put it, to ''suppress rebellion and defeat invasion besides." 1 
What then had he in mind when so frequently indulging in the 
metaphorical prediction that "a contest between Great Britain 
and the United States would wrap the world in fire"? This 
prediction, too, he now uttered when actively negotiating for 
the accession of the United States to what was known as the 
Declaration of Paris, by which " privateering is and remains 

I am not aware that Secretary Seward ever, either in his 
correspondence or in any conversation of which we have a 
record, enlarged upon this subject in detail. In the course of 
a despatch to Mr. Adams, written on the morrow of Bull Run, 
he thus expressed himself: "If, through error, on whatever 
side, this civil contention shall transcend the national bounds 
and involve foreign States, the energies of all commercial na- 
tions, including our own, will necessarily be turned to war, and 
a general carnival of the adventurous and the reckless of all 
countries, at the cost of the existing commerce of the world, 
must ensue." 2 This is suggestive; but a more detailed and 

1 Barnes, Thurlow Weed, 11. 410. 

3 To trace conjectuirally the line of thought or reasoning pursued by Seward in 
the presence of the quite unforeseeable phases assumed by the course of events at 
this juncture has a distinct psychological interest, and is, moreover, essential to 
any correct understanding of his acts and utterances. Essentially an imaginative 
man, Seward had also, as Bancroft points out (11. 505), a strong emotional and 
sentimental side to his character. To this was largely due his unbounded faith in 
the spirit of nationality in the American people, and his impulse to an appeal to 
patriotism in presence of a domestic complication. This faith was in him un- 
bounded, and found frequent and at times eloquent expression. It inspired, we 
know, the fine closing sentiment of Lincoln's first inaugural, with its poetic 
reference to the "mystic chords of memory" swelling the "chorus of the Union." 
Nicolay-Hay, in. 323, 343. [Later it caused Seward to write exhortingly to Mr. 
Sumner in the midst of a most acute crisis in our foreign relations: "Rouse the 
nationality of the American people. It is an instinct upon which you can always 


fairly adequate idea of what was then in Seward's mind can 
perhaps be derived from the Diary of Mr. Welles, who himself 

rely, even when the conscience that ought never to slumber is drugged to death." 
A passage of similar tenor is quoted by Bancroft (n. 183) from a despatch to Day- 
ton: " Down deep in the heart of the American people — deeper than the love of 
trade, or of freedom — deeper than the attachment to any local or sectional inter- 
est, or partisan pride or individual ambition — deeper than any other sentiment 
— is that one out of which the Constitution of this Union arose — namely, Ameri- 
can Independence — independence of all foreign control, alliance, or influence." 
With this faith in the possibility of an appeal to what he considered an irresistible 
power when aroused, Seward's memory insensibly went back to the traditions of 
the War of 181 2, and his own impressions based on features of that struggle and 
recollection of its phases and incidents; for, born in May, 1801, Seward was at 
the impressionable age of fourteen when the war closed. The part then played by 
the American privateers is familiar history. Reverting to that national ex- 
perience, Seward, like President Buchanan, appears to have reasoned somewhat 
as follows: 

(1) "Our most effectual means of annoying a great naval power upon the ocean 
is by granting letters of marque and reprisal." {Supra, 28.) 

(2) In certain emergencies, he declared, "we must let loose our privateers." 
(Welles, Diary, 1. 437.) 

(3) Finding their way to every sea, these privateers will "wrap the whole 
world in flames. No power so remote that she will not feel the fire of our battle 
and be burned by our conflagration." (Russell, My Diary, December 16, 

(4) Consequently, any struggle in which we may be involved will be "dread- 
ful, but the end will be sure and swift." {Seward at Washington, 11. 575.) 

In pursuing some such line of reasoning, and in reaching this conclusion, 
Seward, as is now obvious, left out of consideration the vital fact that since 1815 
steam had replaced canvas in naval operations. Jefferson Davis at the same 
time, but on the other side, made the same mistake. Sustained privateering was, 
therefore, possible in 1861 only for vessels propelled by steam. This the Con- 
federacy early learned. So far as appears, it does not seem to have occurred to 
Secretary ^Seward that in case of hostilities with the leading nations of Europe 
practically every foreign port in the world would have been closed to American 
vessels. It would have been impossible for them to hold the sea. The blockade 
of the Confederacy would have been raised, and the loyal States would have been 
in turn blockaded. Under these circumstances, the American privateer, could it 
have kept the sea, would have had no port of a foreign country in which to get 
supplies or into which to send its prizes; and the ports of its own country, where 
machinery could have been repaired and coal obtained, would have been closed. 
Hence every inducement as well as facility for privateering would have ceased 
to exist. The ports of the Confederacy would meanwhile have been opened, with 
a consequent unobstructed movement of cotton to Europe, and a counter un- 
obstructed movement of arms, munitions and stores to the Confederacy. 

Under such circumstances, it would seem as if Secretary Seward indulged in a 
delusion no less deceptive and dangerous than that at the same time indulged in 
by Jefferson Davis over the potency of cotton as a finally controlling factor in 
modern politics as well as trade. The maintenance of the blockade of the Con- 
federacy, in fact, was essential to the success of the national government; and, 
whatever else might have resulted from a foreign intervention, had it occurred 
during the Civil War, the United States would have lost its control of the sea and 


seems to have participated to a somewhat inexplicable extent 
in the highly conflagratory confidence of his colleague. Secretary 
Welles certainly did not as a habit share the views of Mr. 
Seward; but none the less, writing at a period two years later 
and even more critical, he on this "wrap-the-world-in-fire" 
topic thus expressed himself: 

A war with England would be a serious calamity to us, but scarcely 
less serious to her. She cannot afford a maritime conflict with us, 
even in our troubles, nor will she. We can live within ourselves if 
worse comes to worse. Our territory is compact, facing both oceans, 
and in latitudes which furnish us in abundance without foreign aid 
all the necessaries and most of the luxuries of life; but England has 
a colonial system which was once her strength, but is her weakness in 
these days and with such a people as our countrymen to contend with. 
Her colonies are scattered over the globe. We could, with our public 
and private armed ships, interrupt and destroy her communication 
with her dependencies, her colonies, on which she is as dependent for 
prosperity as they on her. I was therefore in favor of meeting her 
face to face, asking only what is right but submitting to nothing that 
is wrong. 

If the late despatches are to be taken as the policy she intends to 
pursue, it means war, and if war is to come it looks to me as of a 
magnitude greater than the world has ever experienced, — as if it 
would eventuate in the upheaval of nations, the overthrow of gov- 
ernments and dynasties. The sympathies of the mass of mankind 
would be with us rather than with the decaying dynasties and the 
old effete governments. Not unlikely the conflict thus commenced 
would kindle the torch of civil war throughout Christendom, and even 
nations beyond. 1 * 

The condition of affairs opens a vast field. Should a commercial 
war commence, it will affect the whole world. The police of the seas 
will be broken up, and the peaceful intercourse of nations destroyed. 
Those governments and peoples that have encouraged and are foster- 
ing our dissensions will themselves reap the bitter fruits of their 
malicious intrigues. In this great conflict, thus wickedly begun there 
will be likely to ensue an uprising of the nations that will shatter 

the blockade of the Confederacy would have been raised. It is difficult now to see 
how in such case the cause of the Union could have been sustained. If his reasoning 
was really that indicated by his utterances, official and familiar, and they were not 
for mere effect, Mr. Seward would on this subject seem to have been wrong in his 
every premise. He left out of his equation not only steam and electricity but a half 
century of scientific development. 
1 Diary, 1. 258-259. 


existing governments and overthrow the aristocracies and dynasties 
not only of England but of Europe. 1 

Two men, mentally so differently constituted, thus concurred 
in what, involving as it did the mastery of the sea, cannot but 
impress the modern investigator as a singularly visionary and 
delusive hallucination. Nevertheless, it would seem that 
W. H. Russell was right when, on another occasion, he debated 
in his own mind whether Secretary Seward believed in the 
somewhat "tall" talk in which on this subject he was apt to 
indulge. After meditating the proposition carefully, Russell 
concluded that the Secretary really did have faith in the views 
he expressed. 2 Under the circumstances, it is difficult to avoid 
the conclusion reached by Secretary Welles in other connections, 
that Secretary Seward was in his mental make-up essentially 
visionary and erratic. 3 He was also, as Mr. Sumner asserted, 
somewhat wanting in what is known as hard, common sense. 4 
Nevertheless, these characteristics again must be taken with 
qualifications. While Seward was visionary and to an excep- 
tional and unfortunate degree addicted to prophetic utterance, 
yet, as a saving grace, he rarely allowed his visions to commit 
him to any action involving irretrievable disaster; while, as 
respects his erratic tendencies, when boldly challenged he be- 
came, as Mr. Welles asserted, "timid, uncertain, and distrust- 
ful"; 5 and, "while thus lacking in a dangerous tenacity of 

1 Diary, I. 251. The following passage from a speech delivered in the House of 
Representatives by Thaddeus Stevens, of Pennsylvania, December 30, 1861, is 
of a similar tenor. Mr. Stevens was chairman of the Committee of Ways and 
Means, and the entire speech is curiously suggestive of the rhodomontade very 
generally indulged in at that stage of the conflict: 

"War is always a mighty evil. With England it would be especially deplor- 
able. But war with all nations is better than national dishonour and disgrace. 
We should be better able to meet England in arms with the rebel States in alli- 
ance with her than if they were still loyal. They have a vastly extended defence- 
less frontier easily accessible by a maritime enemy. Most of the army and navy 
of the nation during the last war were required for its defence. If we were relieved 
from protecting them, we could use all our forces in other quarters. We should 
then do what we ought long since to have done — organize their domestic enemies 
against them, who would find themselves and their allies sufficient employment 
at home without invading the North. If such a deplorable war should be forced 
upon us we should do what we ought to have done in the last war — rectify our 
Eastern and Northern boundaries; and our banner would wave over freemen, 
and none but republican freemen, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean, 
and from the Bay of St. Lawrence to Puget Sound." 

2 My Diary, April 4, 1861. 4 lb., 285. 

8 Welles, Diary, 1. n, 275. 6 lb., 153, 154. 


purpose, he was naturally disposed to oblique and indirect 
movements. With an almost phenomenal quickness of appre- 
hension, however, he possessed "wonderful facility and aptness 
in adapting himself to circumstances and exigencies which he 
could not control, and a fertility in expedients, with a dexterity 
in adopting or dismissing plans and projected schemes, unsur- 
passed." x Very similar conclusions in these respects were 
reached by Mr. Bancroft, when he wrote in his Life: " There 
was in Seward's nature so much that was emotional and senti- 
mental aside from what was subtle, and it was so common for 
him to seek to accomplish his purpose by indirect means, that 
it is often impossible to distinguish impulse from calculation." 2 

Reverting now to the narrative, it is well to bear in mind 
that, at the very hour Russell's description of the call at the 
State Department was recorded, the crisis was impending; 
seventeen days later only "the strength of the Union" was to be 
brought to bear against the Confederacy, with results which 
would render it difficult to deny the latter the status of a bel- 
ligerent. Our somewhat hastily improvised and extremely vain- 
glorious martial array was to be chased back to Washington in 
panic flight by "the power existing in pronunciamento only." 

So much for the situation as, in the period of this episode, it 
affected Seward's mental operations and plans of procedure. 
There can, I think, be no reasonable doubt of the program he 
had in mind up to Bull Run; but, five months later, that pro- 
gram and the sequence of events were clearly set forth by 
Lyons in a despatch to Earl Russell, dated December 6, 1861, 
and received in London December 25th, at the very crisis of 
the subsequent Trent affair. Lyons wrote: 

A great deal of the space [in the diplomatic correspondence accom- 
panying the President's message that day published] devoted to [Eng- 
land and France] is occupied by the negotiations concerning the 
adherence of the United States to the Declaration of Paris. Mr. 
Adams writes frequently and at great length concerning his mis- 
apprehension of your Lordship's intentions as to transferring the 
negotiation to Washington. The simple explanation of this misap- 
prehension is, that Mr. Seward refused to see the despatch in which 
your Lordship's proposals were made. Your Lordship will recollect 
that Mr. Seward, having been permitted by M. Mercier and me to 

1 Welles, Lincoln and Seward, 43. 2 Bancroft, 11. 505. 



read and consider in private that despatch, and a despatch of a sim- 
ilar tenor from the Government of France, refused to receive the 
formal copies we were instructed to place in his hands, or to take any 
official notice of their contents. . . . From several of the papers now 
published, it appears that it was only an act of common prudence, 
on the part of the Governments of Great Britain and France, not to 
accept the accession of this country to the Declaration of Paris, with- 
out stating distinctly what obligations they intended by doing so to 
assume with regard to the Seceded States. Little doubt can remain, 
after reading the papers, that the accession was offered solely with 
a view to the effect it would have on the privateering operations 
of the Southern States; and that a refusal on the part of England 
and France, after having accepted the accession, to treat the South- 
ern privateers as pirates, would have been made a serious grievance, 
if not a ground of quarrel. ... In the letter from Mr. Seward to Mr. 
Dayton of the 2 2d June, the following passage occurs: "We shall 
continue to regard France as respecting our Government until she 
practically acts in violation of her friendly obligations to us, as 
we understand them. When she does that, it will be time enough 
to inquire whether if we accede to the Treaty of Paris she could, 
after that, allow pirates upon our commerce shelter in her ports, and 
what our remedy should then be. We have no fear on this head." 

Had, therefore, the movement to Bull Run resulted differ- 
ently, as Mr. Seward confidently believed it would, he had it 
in mind then to assume an aggressive attitude, boldly disclos- 
ing his ultimate object. He would insist on United States 
sovereignty, and the outlawing of all Confederate cruisers as 
pirates under the laws of the United States become operative 
as respects them by virtue of the adhesion of that country to 
the Declaration of Paris. 

But, weeks before the 21st of July, and its catastrophe, the 
Declaration of Paris negotiation had passed out of Seward's 
hands into the hands of Messrs. Adams and Dayton. 
Their personalities and views of the situation have next to be 

Mr. Adams seems to have approached the negotiation in 
perfect good faith, holding that the articles of the Declara- 
tion of Paris were right in themselves, constituting a distinct 
advance in international law; and, being right, they should 
be acceded to by the United States on their merits and in good 
faith. He did not contemplate an ulterior move; had no eye 


to possible impending complications; nor did he apparently 
grasp Seward's scheme in all its consequences. He, therefore, 
proceeded in a straightforward way to negotiate the accession 
of the United States to the Paris Declaration. In so doing he 
acted as it was incumbent on a diplomatic agent to act. He 
carried out his instructions in a spirit of obedience, and with 
unquestioning loyalty to his chief. 

Mr. Dayton otherwise viewed the thing proposed. He ap- 
prehended early trouble between the United States and Great 
Britain, and considered that in such contingency privateering 
was a weapon of aggressive warfare which the United States 
should on no account abandon. He was, therefore, most re- 
luctant to carry out his instructions, and did so only when 
they reached him in positive and explicit terms. 

What policy and scheme of subsequent, alternative action 
were in Secretary Seward's mind when he forwarded those in- 
structions, looking to the adherence of the United States to 
the Articles of the Declaration of Paris "pure and simple" 
can only now be matter of surmise. One thing would seem ap- 
parent. Secretary Seward at this juncture looked forward to 
serious foreign complications as at least probable. Neither in 
case of such complications does he seem to have proposed in 
any event so to commit the United States that in case of emer- 
gency a recourse could not be had to privateering as an effective 
weapon in warfare, especially in the case of Great Britain. On 
the contrary, both in his own utterances and in the Diary 
records of Secretary Welles a resort to letters of marque in 
the event of a foreign complication when the world would be 
"wrapped in fire" seems to be assumed as a matter of course. 1 

In the absence of any direct avowal, which could, under the 
circumstances, hardly be looked for, the inevitable inference, 
therefore, is that in such eventuality the American Secretary 
of State, with his "wonderful facility and aptness in adapting 
himself to circumstances and exigencies which he could not 
control," and his "fertility in expedients, combined with dex- 
terity in adopting or dismissing plans and projected schemes," 2 

1 A most annoying and destructive weapon of warfare, the "wolves of the sea" 
were bitterly denounced by the American Secretary of the Navy at the very time 
when, in case of a conflict with Great Britain, recourse would, he declared, be had 
to "letters of marque and every means in our power." Diary, 1. 250. 

2 Welles, Lincoln and Seward, 43. 


proposed to extricate himself from a commitment then become 
undesirable by asserting that through their refusal to recognize 
the cruisers of the Confederacy as pirates the foreign powers 
had themselves disregarded the Declaration of Paris with re- 
spect to privateering, thus releasing the United States from its 

Through such confusion of thought and juggling of phrases 
the Secretary of State apparently saw a path clear before him 
in any eventuality. The United States was to find itself free 
to a recourse to what in the absence of the Declaration of Paris 
had always been regarded as a legitimate method of warfare. 
As usual, the onus of the violated obligation would have been 
transferred to the other parties thereto. 

The British representative at Washington, Lord Lyons, was 
the only dramatis persona in these negotiations remaining to be 
considered. Of him it may fairly be said that his course through- 
out seems to furnish no ground for criticism. Placed in a most 
difficult position, and apparently at times treated by Mr. 
Seward with scant personal and official courtesy, he bore himself 
with quiet dignity, preserving an even temper and performing 
admirably his duties. His reports and despatches have not as 
yet been made accessible in full ; but, so far as appears, acting 
loyally to his chief and paying obedience, both strict and tact- 
ful, to his instructions, he kept the British Foreign Office accu- 
rately and fully informed as to the course of events. Moreover, 
he seems to have understood his opponent, correctly divining 
his plan of operations and ulterior purpose. That he distrusted 
Mr. Seward and considered him very capable of covert dealing 
was well understood in Washington. This was the case to such a 
degree that Mr. Sumner told Secretary Welles that the British 
Minister had given him to understand that he was "cautious 
and careful in all his transactions" with the Secretary, and 
that he "made it a point to reduce all matters with Seward of 
a public nature to writing." l Nevertheless, owing doubtless 
to his tact, good temper, and the confidence in himself Lord 
Lyons had inspired, Mr. Welles later on recorded the following 
belief: "To a mortifying extent Lord Lyons shapes and directs, 
through the Secretary of State, an erroneous policy to this 
government. This is humiliating, but true." 2 

1 Welles, Diary, I. 288. 2 Diary, I. 399, 409. 


That, in the case of Mr. Seward, the judgment of Gideon 
Welles was biased and almost invariably harsh and unfavor- 
able, is apparent. He is a prejudiced witness. None the less, 
a shrewd and incisive judge of character, and a very honest 
man, the Secretary of the Navy saw things in Lincoln's cabinet 
from the inside, — his sources of information were the best and 
most direct. That he was misinformed as to foreign affairs 
and not infrequently mistaken as well as rash in his judgments 
concerning them, is apparent from his contemporaneous records; 
and yet, making all possible allowance on these heads, it is not 
easy to see how a higher official tribute than that here paid by 
him could well have been paid to the Minister of a foreign coun- 
try during a most critical period. 

Perhaps, however, the best resume of the situation in June, 
1861, so far as Lord Lyons was concerned, is to be found in W. H. 
Russell's Diary. He there (chapter xliv) records the fact that 
returning from his trip through the Confederacy, and reaching 
Washington on the 3d of July, he found Lord Lyons at the British 
Legation, and was sorry to observe that he looked " rather care- 
worn and pale." As a result of what he then learned he further 
stated that Mr. Seward, as the Southern Confederacy developed 
its power, assumed ever higher ground, and became more ex- 
acting and defiant. He went on as follows, referring to what had 
recently taken place: 

Mr. Seward has been fretful, irritable, and acrimonious; and it is 
not too much to suppose Mr. Sumner has been useful in allaying 
irritation. A certain despatch was written last June, which amounted 
to little less than a declaration of war against Great Britain. Most 
fortunately the President was induced to exercise his power. The 
despatch was modified though not without opposition, and was for- 
warded to the English Minister with its teeth drawn. Lord Lyons, 
who is one of the suavest and quietest of diplomatists, has found it 
difficult, I fear, to maintain personal relations with Mr. Seward at 
times. Two despatches have been prepared for Lord John Russell, 
which could have had no result but to lead to a breach of the peace, 
had not some friendly interpositor succeeded in averting the wrath of 
the Foreign Minister. 1 

So far as the second, third and fourth articles of the Declara- 
tion of Paris were concerned, they in the negotiation now 

1 Russell, Diary, 377. 


carried on presented no difficulty. The question turned wholly 
on the first, — that is, "Privateering is and remains abolished.' ' 
As respects this, the battle of Bull Run entirely changed the 
diplomatic situation. After July 21, 1861, it was practically 
out of the question to deny that the Confederates were bellig- 
erents, and, on land or sea, to be treated as such. Never- 
theless, the attempted confusion of Confederate cruisers duly 
commissioned, with privateers sailing under letters of marque, 
and these with piracy, was pressed until the following October. 
Then at last those captured on one of the Confederate commerce- 
destroyers were brought to trial, and a member of the crew of 
the Jeff Davis was convicted and sentenced to death. 1 Of 
course the sentence was not executed; and the farce, prolonged 
as such since July 21, then came to a close; and with it one of 
Seward's most involved diplomatic schemes. 

The United States simply had to back down; or, as Seward 
the day following the battle wrote to his wife, — "nothing re- 
mains but to reorganize and begin again." 2 

The European negotiations had, however, already languished 
to a conclusion, all the diplomatic formalities being duly ob- 
served. Before the tidings of the catastrophe of July 21 reached 
Europe, the negotiation had come to a head. A formal conven- 
tion was concluded (July 18) for the adhesion of the United 
States to the Declaration of Paris, and awaited signature; but 
on July 31st Earl Russell, just as the news of what had occurred 
at Bull Run was about to reach London, took occasion to notify 
Mr. Adams that, if the proposed convention should be signed, 
the engagement on the part of Great Britain would be "pro- 
spective," and would "not invalidate anything already done." 
In transmitting the correspondence to Secretary Seward, Mr. 
Adams somewhat naively observed that he did not understand 
the meaning of this phrase. In other words, it would appear that 
the ingenious confusion of terms — belligerency, sovereignty, 
insurgency, Confederate cruisers, letters of marque, privateer- 
ing, pirates and piracy, the last five being in the plan of Mr. 
Seward interchangeable — the significance, I say, of this con- 
fusion of terms had not occurred to the American negotiator. 
It was, however, very present in the minds of both the British 

1 Rhodes, in. 429; Nicolay and Hay, v. 10. 

2 Seward at Washington, n. 600. 


Foreign Secretary and the American Secretary of State. But at 
just this juncture, and while Mr. Adams was meditating the 
problem, tidings reached him of what had occurred in front of 
Washington on the 21st of the previous month. This was on 
August 4th; and the American negotiator had good occasion 
to write in his diary, "Thus a change is made in all our ex- 
pectations, and the war from this time assumes a new char- 
acter. My own emotion is not to be described." 

Applying to Secretary Seward for further instructions, Mr. 
Adams was presently advised that the word "prospective" in 
Earl Russell's enigmatic statement was considered "unim- 
portant"; but the declaration that the signature of the con- 
vention should "not invalidate anything already done" was 
suggestive of difficulties. Would Earl Russell kindly specify? 
This despatch did not reach Mr. Adams until after August 28th, 
— twenty-four days after the news of Bull Run had got to 
London, establishing the fact of Confederate belligerency be- 
yond peradventure. Mr. Adams had then as the result of 
further correspondence already received a despatch from Earl 
Russell, prepared evidently in the full light of the recent military 
occurrence which had worked a change so material in all the 
American minister's "expectations." This despatch was con- 
clusive. So far as "specification" was concerned, it certainly 
left nothing to inference. Earl Russell now wrote: 

It was most desirable in framing a new agreement not to give rise 
to a fresh dispute. 

But the different attitude of Great Britain and of the United 
States in regard to the internal dissensions now unhappily prevail- 
ing in the United States gave warning that such a dispute might 
arise out of the proposed convention. 

Her Majesty's Government, upon receiving intelligence that the 
President had declared by proclamation his intention to blockade 
the ports of nine of the States of the Union, and that Mr. Davis, 
speaking in the name of those nine States, had declared his intention 
to issue letters of marque and reprisals, and having also received 
certain information of the design of both sides to arm, had come to 
the conclusion that civil war existed in America, and Her Majesty 
had thereupon proclaimed her neutrality in the approaching contest. 

The Government of the United States, on the other hand, spoke 
only of unlawful combinations, and designated those concerned in 
them as rebels and pirates. It would follow logically and consistently, 


from the attitude taken by Her Majesty's Government, that the 
so-called Confederate States, being acknowledged as a belligerent, 
might, by the law of nations, arm privateers, and that their priva- 
teers must be regarded as the armed vessels of a belligerent. 

With equal logic and consistency it would follow, from the posi- 
tion taken by the United States, that the privateers of the Southern 
States might be decreed to be pirates, and it might be further argued 
by the Government of the United States that a European power 
signing a convention with the United States, declaring that priva- 
teering was and remains abolished, would be bound to treat the pri- 
vateers of the so-called Confederate States as pirates. 

Hence, instead of an agreement, charges of bad faith and violation 
of a convention might be brought in the United States against the 
power signing such a convention, and treating the privateers of the 
so-called Confederate States as those of a belligerent power. 

Not unnaturally, in view of the facts which have here been 
recounted, and the inferences almost necessarily to be drawn 
from them, Secretary Seward in due time (September yth) pro- 
nounced the proposed reservation quite "inadmissible." And 
here the curtain finally fell on this somewhat prolonged and 
not altogether creditable diplomatic farce. 1 

What, however, now seems more particularly to deserve 
attention in a study of this episode is the extreme danger appar- 
ently incurred therein by the United States. Indeed, without 
its being realized by any one, the country then seems to have 
practically challenged a greater peril than ever confronted it, 
with a single exception, through the succeeding years. All, in 
fact, depended upon the good faith of Earl Russell in pursuance 
of his policy of neutrality. Earl Russell, by great good luck, 
chanced to be a conventional British statesman; but had he 
been a man more of the Bismarckian type, and seen the situa- 
tion clearly, the result would, if Mr. Henry Adams's view of the 
situation is correct, have been inevitable. He, in his paper, as- 
sumes, and undertakes to show, that Earl Russell throughout 
this episode acted evasively, practically in bad faith, and with 
an ulterior and concealed end always in view. That end was 

1 [In his annual message to Congress in December, 1861, President Lincoln said: 
"Although we have failed to induce some of the commercial powers to adopt a 
desirable melioration of the rigor of maritime war, we have removed all obstruc- 
tions from the way of this humane reform except such as are merely of temporary 
and accidental occurrence." Ed.] 


the early recognition of the Confederacy, and a consequent 
division of the United States. From the outset, as Mr. Henry 
Adams asserts, Earl Russell wanted to put the American Min- 
ister in the position of representing a portion only of a divided 
country, and there hold him. 

But if this assumption is correct, the whole game was, in the 
negotiation which has been described, thrown by Secretary 
Seward into Earl Russell's hands. All the latter had to do was 
at once to accede to the proposal of the United States, and 
admit it by convention to the Articles of the Declaration of 
Paris. He would then have left the Secretary of State to get 
the assent of the Senate to that convention; which, however, 
Lord Lyons had already advised would, under the circum- 
stances, be very difficult to obtain. This, however, a Bis- 
marckian diplomat, if Mr. Henry Adams's theory as to the 
attitude of Russell and the British ministry is correct, would 
not have regarded. It would, in fact, in no way have concerned 
him. He would simply have acknowledged the right to accede, 
and claimed that, so far as the United States was concerned, 
" Privateering was and would remain abolished " thereby. 

The next inevitable step would have followed, and that 
soon. Seward, as Secretary of State, would have insisted 
that the United States spoke for the Confederacy, and, the 
Confederacy not being a belligerent recognized by the United 
States, the letters of marque issued by it constituted a license 
for piracy under the American law; and the American law on 
that point must be held to prevail. The cruisers of the unrec- 
ognized de facto government had consequently no status on the 
ocean. They were not even privateers within the purview of 
the Declaration of Paris. They were simply pseudo-commis- 
sioned corsairs. A year later he angrily referred to them as 
" piratical cruisers," the presence of which on the ocean seemed 
"to leave to the United States at most no hope of remaining at 
peace with Great Britain without sacrifices for which no peace 
could ever compensate." 1 And again seventeen months later, 
under date of December 8, 1862, he said that up to a time 
shortly before, there was "a prevailing consciousness on our 
part that we were not yet fully prepared for a foreign war. 

1 Geneva Award Record, Correspondence concerning Claims against Great 
Britain, October 20, 1862, 1. 260. 



This latter conviction is passing away. It is now apparent to 
observing and considerate men that no European state is as 
really capable to do us harm as we are capable to defend our- 
selves. . . . The whole case may be summed up in this : The 
United States claim, and they must continually claim, that 
in this war they are a whole sovereign nation, and entitled 
to the same respect as such that they accord to Great 
Britain. Great Britain does not treat them as such a sov- 
ereign, and hence all the evils that disturb their intercourse 
and endanger their friendship." 1 

Assuming this attitude a year earlier, — and it apparently 
was Seward's next projected move on the diplomatic chess- 
board, as the pieces stood thereon after the firing on Sumter 
and before the Bull Run catastrophe, — the plain opportunity 
would then have presented itself to the Bismarckian states- 
man having the program in view which Mr. Henry Adams 
attributes to Earl Russell. The reply would have been an im- 
mediate and emphatic, "Very well; all that being so, we will 
now recognize the Confederacy as a member of the family of 
nations. After that, there can be no question whatever as to 
public commerce-destroyers, privateers or pirates. Every 
vessel sailing under its flag will be as much a public ship of 
war as one sailing under the flag of the United States. But, 
so far as the United States is concerned, ' Privateering is, and 
remains, abolished!'" 

Seward would, by his course, have thus brought about the 
very result the United States had greatest cause to apprehend 
and most desired to avoid. In other words, he would have fallen 
headlong into the somewhat obviously yawning pit he had elab- 
orately designed for others. 

How perilously near the country came to the verge of that 
pit is made apparent in Mr. Bancroft's account of what was 
known as the Consul Bunch incident, 2 which occurred contem- 
poraneously. Into the details of this incident it is not neces- 
sary here to enter. It is sufficient to say that while the nego- 
tiation for the adhesion of the United States to the Declaration 
of Paris was in progress in Europe, Robert Bunch, British Con- 

1 Geneva Award Record, Correspondence concerning Claims against Great 
Britain, October 20, 1862, 1. 261. 

2 Seward, n. 195-203. 


sul at Charleston, was carrying on something bearing a strong 
resemblance to a diplomatic intrigue looking to a partial adhe- 
sion at least of the Confederate Government to the same Dec- 
laration. The fact came to the knowledge of Secretary Seward, 
and the papers and despatches of Consul Bunch were at the 
proper time intercepted. Subsequently they were forwarded, 
through Mr. Adams, to the British Foreign Office. From these 
papers it appeared that Mr. William Henry Trescot of South 
Carolina, who had previously been in the diplomatic service of 
the United States, was now serving as an intermediary between 
Consul Bunch, acting on an intimation from Lord Lyons, and 
Jefferson Davis, looking to an understanding to be effected 
with the Confederacy. 

A new and extremely interesting dramatis persona here enters 
on the scene; the strong individuality of Mr. Davis must now 
be taken into account. Mr. Trescot met Davis at Gordonsville, 
Virginia, while the latter, naturally elated over the victory just 
won, was on his way back to Richmond fresh from the Bull 
Run battle-field. Mr. Bancroft then says that a certain dis- 
satisfaction at the way in which the negotiation now proposed 
to him had been opened seemed to cloud Davis's perception of 
the possible advantage to be derived from it. Instead, there- 
fore, of at once acceding to the suggestion, and thereby estab- 
lishing quasi relations with the governments of England and 
France, Davis merely gave to the proposition a general approval, 
promising to refer the question to the Confederate Congress. 
This he subsequently did; and the Congress, in August, 1861, 
passed a series of resolutions, drafted, it is said, by Davis him- 
self, 1 approving all the Articles of the Declaration of Paris ex- 
cept that referring to privateers. The right of privateering was, 
however, especially emphasized, and reserved. 2 

1 Nicolay and Hay, rv. 279. 

2 [Jownal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1. 341. These 
resolutions were substituted, and apparently somewhat hastily, for others which 
had recently been adopted by the Congress. The Journal shows that on July 30 
Mr. Hunter of Virginia introduced a preamble and resolutions denning the posi- 
tion of the Confederate States on points of maritime law, as laid down by the 
Congress of Paris of 1856, which were referred to the Committee on Foreign 
Affairs. On August 2 Mr. Rhett reported them back to the House, with a recom- 
mendation that they pass. Six days after, on motion of Mr. Barnwell, the special 
order was postponed to consider those resolutions, and the House passed them. 
On the 9th Mr. Memminger, by unanimous consent, moved to reconsider the vote, 


This seems to be a somewhat inadequate disposal of what was 
in reality a crucial matter. 1 It would really almost seem as if a 
special Providence was then safeguarding the American Union 
equally against the blunders of its friends and the machina- 
tions of its enemies. The fact is that Jefferson Davis was at 
just this juncture obsessed with three accepted convictions, 
each one of which in the close proved erroneous; but the three 
together dictated his policy. These convictions were: (i) that 
the decisive military success just won at Manassas was final 
as respects the establishment of the Confederacy as an indepen- 
dent nationality; (2) that the control of cotton as a commercial 
staple put it in the power of the Confederacy to dictate a for- 
eign policy to the European powers; and (3) that the free is- 
suance of letters of marque to privateers was a terribly destruc- 
tive weapon of warfare in the hands of the insurgent States. 
On these factors in the situation he now implicitly relied; and 
time was yet to show him that, combined, they were but a 
broken reed. Davis was, however, an essentially self-centred 
and, in his way, an opinionated man. Implicitly believing he 
now saw his way clearly, he acted accordingly; and what, 
differently handled, • might have proved a great opportunity 
for the Confederacy, wholly escaped, unseen and neglected. 

For, in the full light of subsequent developments and disclos- 
ures, it is not difficult to see how a somewhat less self-confident 
and provincial President of the Confederacy, and a somewhat 
more astute and clear-sighted British Secretary of Foreign 
Affairs, would, under conditions then existing, have availed 
themselves of this opportunity to bring about the result which 
Mr. Henry Adams asserts Earl Russell from the beginning 
had in view. But for the good faith of Earl Russell in following 
out his policy of strict neutrality, and the apparent over- 
confidence indulged in by Davis in consequence of the recent 
Confederate success at Bull Run, 2 the way lay open to a direct 

and the resolutions were laid on the table. August 13 Hunter submitted a new 
set of resolutions as a substitute for those on the table, and the House acted at 
once. The earlier resolutions were not printed in the Journal. Ed.] 

1 See also Nicolay and Hay, iv. 278-280, where the whole Declaration of Paris 
negotiation, including the Bunch incident, receives in my judgment a treatment 
both inadequate and mistaken. When that work was prepared, the facts of the 
situation had been but imperfectly disclosed. 

2 "There grew up [after the Battle of Bull Run] all over the South such a 


and full recognition of the Confederacy. The inchoate nego- 
tiation initiated by Consul Bunch was by him regarded as the 
first step in that direction; and, as Mr. Trescot pointed out 
to Davis, if Mr. Seward's loudly proclaimed threat was carried 
out, that such recognition would be regarded by the United 
States as a casus belli, Great Britain and France must, as a 
succeeding and final step, be brought into the struggle as allies 
of the Confederacy. As a result thereof the world might, as 
Mr. Seward confidently anticipated, "be wrapped in fire"; 
but the blockade would surely be raised! Jefferson Davis was 
yet to learn that, with the blockade in force, no port for prizes 
was open, and privateering was, consequently, pro hac vice, an 
antiquated and useless weapon in the armory of warfare. If 
then it were abandoned by the Confederacy as the price of 
such an alliance as that now suggested, the Confederate Brit- 
ish-constructed cruiser would, with its prizes, have free ingress 
to and egress from the ports not only of the Confederacy but 
of Great Britain and France. However this might or might not 
have proved the case, one thing is apparent: If the motive 
and policy of the Palmerston-Russell Government was in the 
Summer of 186 1 what Mr. Henry Adams so confidently asserts, 
no better opportunity of reaching the end it had in view ever 
presented itself than was presented in the course of the pro- 
ceedings which have just been described. 

Fortunately for the United States, the policy at this juncture 
pursued by Earl Russell was far more straightforward, above- 
board and direct than at the time he had credit for, especially 
in America, or than the American Minister in London then, or 
Mr. Henry Adams since, has credited to him. 1 In other words, 

perfect confidence in its strength and its perfect ability to work its own salvation 
that very little care was felt for the action of Europe. In fact, the people were 
just now quite willing to wait for recognition of their independence by European 
powers, until it was already achieved." De Leon, Four Years in Rebel Capitals, 

1 Mr. Adams, apparently as the result of later experience and calmer reflec- 
tion, saw occasion to revise his opinion of Earl Russell's motives and official 
action. In his opinion, as one of the Geneva Board of Arbitration, on the case 
of the Florida, he expressed himself as follows: "... I hope I may not be ex- 
ceeding my just limits if I seize this occasion to do a simple act of justice to 
that eminent statesman. Much as I may see cause to differ with him in his 
limited construction of his own duty, or in the views which appear in these 
papers to have been taken by him of the policy proper to be pursued by Her 
Majesty's government, I am far from drawing any inferences from them to the 


so far as the record shows, Earl Russell, at that time at least, 
meant what he said, and carried himself accordingly. Mr. Henry 
Adams, on the contrary, writing so lately as 1907, has expressed 
his conviction that Earl Russell's management of the Declara- 
tion of Paris negotiation " strengthened the belief that [he] had 
started in May, 1861, with the assumption that the Confederacy 
was established . . . and he was waiting only for the proper 
moment to interpose." This, Mr. Henry Adams further asserts, 
seemed at the time so self-evident that no one then in the Ameri- 
can London Legation would have doubted the proposition "ex- 
cept that Lord Russell obstinately denied the whole charge, 
and persisted in assuring Minister Adams of his honest and 
impartial neutrality." 1 If this was indeed the case, it can in the 
full light of subsequent revelations only now be concluded that 
the British Foreign Secretary was either truthful in his assev- 
erations, or that in August, 1861, he failed to avail himself of 
a most admirable opportunity to carry out his fixed policy, and 
most effectually to " interpose." 

Meanwhile, the confusion of speech intentionally created for 
an ulterior purpose by Seward in May and June, 1861, has 
continued indefinitely. Take our associate Mr. Schouler, for 
instance. In his History he says: "the Palmers ton ministry 
connived presently at an evasion by which such vessels ceased 
strictly to be 'privateers' by receiving commissions from Jef- 
ferson Davis as regular war- vessels of the Confederacy." 2 
And yet the distinction here referred to was manifest, funda- 
mental and universally recognized. 3 . The Sumter and the Ala- 
bama, for instance, were constantly referred to in the papers 
and memoirs of the time, sometimes as "privateers" and at 
other times as "pirates." The Sumter, as already pointed 
out, was a commissioned Confederate cruiser, hailing from a 
Confederate port, and making its way to sea through a block- 

effect that he was actuated in any way by motives of ill-will to the United 
States, or, indeed, by unworthy motives of any kind. If I were permitted to 
judge from a calm comparison of the relative weight of his various opinions 
with his action in different contingencies, I should be led rather to infer a bal- 
ance of good-will than of hostility to the United States." Papers relating to the 
Treaty of Washington, iv. 162. 

1 Education of Henry Adams, 128. 

2 History of the United States, vi. 126. Also Seward at Washington, 11. 625. 

3 Moore, Digest, vn. 543-558. 


ading squadron. 1 On the other hand, the single weak point in 
the Alabama's position was that, built and equipped at public 
Confederate cost, it had no home port of record, — that is, 
built in England and equipped in a neutral harbor of refuge, 
though sailing under Confederate colors it had never entered a 
Confederate port. It was, however, duly commissioned by a 
de facto government, and a belligerent recognized as such on 
land even by the United States. Except in that single respect 
of a home port, it was a regularly commissioned ship-of-war, 
— just as much so as the Kearsarge. That a ship-of-war, the 
property of a de facto government engaged in active war, was 
built evasively of law in a private ship-yard of a neutral coun- 
try, and throughout its entire life never entered a harbor of the 
belligerent in whose service she sailed, certainly constituted an 
anomaly. A naval anomaly is, however, not necessarily piracy; 
nor is it at once apparent how a clause to that effect could, to 
meet a novel case, be read into the accepted treatises on inter- 
national usage. British in origin, equipment and crews, the 
Confederate cruisers were homeless wanderers of the sea en- 
gaged in an irregular, not to say discreditable work of destruc- 
tion — a work very similar in character to the wanton destruc- 
tion of property by fire during a military raid. They were, 
however, still cruisers — ships of war — publicly owned and 
duly commissioned. In no respect privateers, they would not 
under any recognized interpretation of language have come 
within the Declaration of Paris inhibition of privateering. 
Neither, while engaged in a somewhat piratical work, were they 
in any common acceptance of the term pirates. Sailing under a 
recognized flag, they confined their ravages strictly to the com- 
merce of an avowed belligerent. They were not common ene- 
mies of mankind. Semmes and his sailors were, in a word, 
pirates under the municipal law of the United States only in 
the same way and to the same extent that Gen. J. II. Morgan 

1 The case of the Sumter subsequently led to a long diplomatic correspondence 
on the point referred to in the text. In his Digest (sec. 13 15) Moore says: " Special 
attention may be directed to the note of Baron Van Zuylen of September 17, 
1861, as a singularly forcible and able discussion of the question of asylum." 
"Mr. Seward, writing to Mr. Pike [our Minister to the Netherlands] on the 
17th of October [1861], declared that the Sumter 'was, by the laws and express 
declaration of the United States, a pirate,' and protested against her receiving 
the treatment of a man-of-war." Moore, Digest, vn. 986. 


and his troopers when raiding in Ohio and Indiana, immedi- 
ately after Gettysburg, were, under the same law, bandits. 1 

It is, it is true, well established, and was then notorious, that 
when the Civil War began the Confederate authorities delib- 
erately proposed to make Great Britain the basis of systematic 
naval operations directed against the United States. This was 
distinctly contrary to the principles of international comity, 
if not law; and yet, incredible as it now seems, the English 
courts in the case of the Alexandra maintained that practically, 
and subject to certain almost formal legal observances, it was 
a legitimate branch of British industry! Such an attitude on 
the part of an English tribunal seems now incredible. Yet it 
was then gravely assumed, 2 and constituted for us a sound basis 
for our subsequent demand for indemnity. No neutral nation, 
of course, has a right under any circumstances to permit itself 
to be made a naval base for operations against a country with 
which it is at peace; but its so doing does not transform an 
otherwise recognized weapon of warfare into a crime against 
the human race. 

Thus, according to my present understanding of what then 
occurred, no ground appears for criticism of either Earl Russell 
or Mr. Adams in connection with the abortive negotiation of 
1861. Earl Russell, adhering strictly to his policy of neutrality 
in the American conflict then in progress, was compelled to have 
recourse at times to what in the eyes of Mr. Adams seemed to 
be disingenuous evasions; but this was in order to avoid pro- 
posed commitments of the character and purport of which the 
Foreign Secretary had been advised by Lord Lyons. The record 
reveals nothing to justify a suspicion of Earl Russell's ulterior 
purposes entertained by Mr. Adams at the time, or which con- 
firms the inferences and conclusions of Mr. Henry Adams 
since. As to Mr. Adams, he seems to have proceeded throughout 
with a direct straightforwardness and manifest good faith which 
at the time impressed Earl Russell with a feeling of confidence 

1 Rhodes, v. 313-316. 

2 "From the ruling of the judge it appeared that the Confederate Govern- 
ment might with ease obtain as many vessels in this country as they pleased with- 
out in any manner violating our laws. It may be a great hardship to the Federals 
that their opponents should be enabled to create a navy in foreign ports, but, 
like many other hardships entailed on belligerents, it must be submitted to." 
London Morning Post, August 10, 1863. 


productive thereafter of most beneficial results. Fully believ- 
ing in the soundness of the policy proposed, 1 and paying no 
attention to the freely expressed doubts, fears, and otherwise- 
minded conclusions of his colleagues and compatriots in Europe 
at that juncture, somewhat obtrusively thrust upon him, 2 Mr. 

1 The American Case, Geneva Arbitration, 1. 77. 

2 [A striking example of this distinctly impertinent intrusiveness at that 
period of the poaching diplomat on the preserves more especially assigned to the 
supervision of Mr. Adams (see Adams, Studies, Military and Diplomatic, 363- 
367) was in this connection afforded by Gen. James Watson Webb, appointed 
Minister to Brazil. On his way to his post, by way of London, General Webb 
had an interview with the British Foreign Secretary. Of what passed in this 
interview, he at the time gave the following account in a letter to President Lin- 
coln, dated Southampton, August 22, 1861: 

" Yesterday I spent at Pembrooke Lodge, with Lord John Russell and ... we 
talked for two hours steadily on American affairs. ... I am opposed in toto 
to the proposition of our Government to agree to a surrender of our right to issue 
letters of marque, and send forth privateers in time of war; because the time of 
making it exhibited weakness; because it cannot have the slightest influence 
upon the pending questions, and because the Senate should and would reject 
such a treaty, if made; and because I honestly and sincerely believe, that such a 
treaty would be political ruin to both you and Mr. Seward; and with my friend- 
ship for both of you, and a knowledge of the People gained in thirty-four years 
of editorial life, it would be weak and criminal in me, if I did not frankly say to 
both of you what I think; and then let the matter rest. 

"Therefore I write this unofficial letter to you instead of Seward; with a 
request, however, that after reading it you will submit it to him for perusal. By 
that time I shall be on my way to the far South [Brazil]; and if either of you do 
not like my letter, commit it to the flames. And, in fact, if the subject be not of 
interest, I shall not complain if you burn it without reading. 

"I told Lord John, that when Earl Ellesmere and other English statesmen at 
Hatchford, just before I went to Paris, said we had refused to unite in putting 
down privateering, I insisted that we never had refused our sanction to the prop- 
osition; but on the contrary, cheerfully accepted of it, conditioned that the 
European Powers would make it more philanthropic by rendering all private 
property afloat on the ocean sacred from assault in time of war as well as in peace. 
Lord John replied, 'You were right; it was we who refused to put down privateer- 
ing if by so doing all private property became sacred in time of war. England, 
you know, could not consent to that.' 'Certainly not; and I justify you as an 
English statesman, in consulting the interests of England by refusing your assent 
to our rider on your bill. Of what use would be your enormous navy, if in time 
of war you may not employ it against the commerce of the enemy? But what it 
is wise and commendable for you to do for the benefit of English interests, it is 
equally wise in us to do in self-defence. You refuse to respect private property 
belonging to your enemy in time of war, because it is not your interest so to do; 
and we refuse to put down privateering unless you go a step further, not because 
we have any especial love for privateering, but because it is necessary for our 
defence against your enormous navy, which you are compelled to keep up, and 
which France forces you to augment. Your Lordship knows that it is contrary 
to the genius of our people and the public sentiment, to keep up a large standing 
army, or a great naval force in time of peace; and, therefore, as I explained to 



Adams carried out his instructions with unquestioning good 
faith. There is, however, now reason to surmise that he did 

Lord Ellesmere and his friends at Hatchford, and to Napoleon at Fontainebleau, 
we resort to volunteers in time of war. You do not object to our volunteers on 
land, why do you so to our marine volunteers, known as "privateers"? When 
we call land volunteers into service, we make them subject to our rules and articles 
of war; and when we call out our naval volunteers, we in like manner render 
them subordinate to the rules and regulations for the government of the navy. 
There is no difference between the two arms, except that the naval volunteers — 
the privateers — are the most national of the two. The officers of the land or 
army volunteers serve under commissions granted by the State authority; while 
in all cases, the officers commanding a privateer (our naval volunteers) are com- 
missioned by the general government. They are, in fact, as much and more a 
part of the navy, as the volunteer force is a part of the army; and they render 
unnecessary a large navy in time of peace. War always, more or less, interferes 
with or altogether suspends commerce; and in time of war we invite our com- 
mercial marine to volunteer for naval service, under commissions granted by the 
Government, and subject to naval regulations, by holding out as an inducement 
the possession of all the prizes they capture. This, in the event of a war with 
England and the employment of our immense commercial marine, would soon 
put us in a position to do as much injury to your commerce as you, with your 
immense navy, could inflict upon ours. But let us give up the right to employ 
privateers, or in other words, our right to accept of volunteers in our naval ser- 
vice, and the English merchant, instead of finding it his interest to be at peace 
with us, would have offered him a bounty to urge the Government to war; be- 
cause, with your superior naval force, you would soon drive us from the ocean 
and monopolize the commerce of the world.' Lord John laughed very heartily 
at all this and said, 'but we never asked you to dispense with privateering. The 
Paris conference made the suggestion, and it was not for us to refuse a good 
thing; besides, we conceded what you had so long demanded, that free ships 
should make free goods. But did you say all this to the Emperor?' 'Aye, and 
more. I expressed my astonishment that he should have given his assent to a 
proposition so palpably designed to increase the naval supremacy of England, 
that it was clearly of English origin, no matter who brought it forward.' 'And 
yet,' said Lord John, 'he did assent to it, and is in favor of it.' 'That by no 
means follows. He had the sagacity to perceive that our people never would 
assent, and, therefore, it was wise and diplomatic in him not to oppose England 
in her project. I do not say that such is his view of the subject; but we both 
know that it would have been wise and diplomatic for him so to have acted; and 
in so much as he is both wise and diplomatic, his having given his assent to the 
proposition by no means proves him to be in favor of it. My own opinion is that 
he would hold us in contempt and never forgive us, if we were to prove untrue 
to ourselves and give England this great advantage over France as well as our- 
selves.' Lord John then went on to say, that altogether too much importance 
has been given to the subject, ' but as your present Government desire it, we will 
make the treaty, even if, as you say, it is certain to be rejected.' I said, I hoped 
not, because its rejection would only lead to other complications and discussions. 
He replied, ' Not a bit of it. I am perfectly willing the treaty should be rejected, 
because I have long been of opinion that no treaty stipulations would be of any 
avail. War once commenced, you would only have to call your privateers "the 
volunteer navy," or some other equally appropriate term, instead of "privateers," 
change somewhat the regulations with the name, and according to your own argu- 


not fully divine the purpose of his chief, being happily on that 
point less fully and correctly advised than Earl Russell, then 
Her Majesty's Secretary for Foreign Affairs. 

As to Secretary Seward, the policy he at this juncture ad- 
vocated, both directly and indirectly, as well as his utterances 
in pursuance thereof, are more difficult to explain. As is ap- 
parent from what has already been said, they invite analysis; 
and, when analyzed, they are provocative of criticism. In con- 
sidering that attitude and those utterances nearly twenty 
years ago, Mr. Rhodes, in an extract already quoted, referred 
to them as indicative of an " infatuation hard to understand." 
To like effect Mr. Adams, in the entry in his Diary already 
quoted, wrote on receipt of Despatch No. 10, of May 21: "I 
scarcely know how to understand Mr. Seward." Since then the 
Welles Diary has been published, affording what is to a large 
extent an inside view of the Lincoln Cabinet movements. So 
far, however, as Seward is concerned, the enigma remains in 
largest degree unsolved. It has been suggested that at this 
juncture the Secretary of State was, like every one else, "grop- 
ing his way"; or, again, that he, individually, had "lost his 
head." Amid the sudden uncertainties and grave perplexities 
which surrounded him, in common with all others, neither sup- 
position is to be dismissed as beyond reasonable consideration ; 
but that he should then seriously and persistently have advo- 
cated a general foreign war, or that he should have exerted him- 
self to the utmost through indirections to involve the country in 
such a war without any understanding reached in advance with 
his chief and his colleagues, seems incredible. Yet the record 
apparently establishes such as having been the case. He seems, 

ment they would become part of your navy for the time being, and be respected 
accordingly, by all other Powers. So we will give your administration the treaty 
they ask for, and they must then settle the matter with your Senate. They may 
accept or reject it at their pleasure, for it would amount to nothing; but I rather 
like the manner in which you put to the Emperor the advantage conceded to us 
by the Paris conference.'" 

Webb sent a copy of this letter to Mr. Dayton, who replied, August 26: 

"I have read with great care and interest your letter to the Prest. a copy of 
which you enclosed. As it is unofficial, of course you could rightfully send it to 
head-quarters direct, and I am glad you did so. 

" That negotiations as to Privateering is likely to break of after all. Lord John 
and Mr. Thouvenel want to add an outside declaration at the time of the execu- 
tion of the Treaty which I will not agree to — nor will Mr. Adams. This is of 
course altogether confidential, but my impression is, that with your letters to 
Seward &c. it will for the present end the matter." Ed.] 


in fact, to have been wrong-headed rather than to have 
"lost his head"; and to have persisted in a path at once 
devious and erroneous rather than to have been "groping his 

Dealing with the distinct period of the Civil War between the 
attack on Fort Sumter and the defeat at Bull Run, it is in jus- 
tice to every one concerned necessary constantly to recall the 
fact that it was throughout formative. It was formative as re- 
spects foreign relations quite as much as in its domestic bear- 
ings. It is in evidence and indisputable that when the Fort 
Sumter crisis was imminent the Secretary of State urged on the 
President the expediency of forcing immediately a foreign 
complication. There is also ground to believe, although on 
this head the evidence is not absolutely conclusive, that so in- 
tent was Seward on at any rate postponing a civil-war outbreak, 
in the hope that a foreign complication could yet be substituted 
therefor, that when the Fort Sumter expedition was in course of 
preparation he caused secret advices thereof to be conveyed to 
the Confederate authorities, apparently with a view of having 
the expedition fail without bringing on an irrevocable crisis, 
or at any rate having the government at Washington appear 
as the provoker of strife by striking the first blow. 1 This, by 
any and every device, he sought to postpone. He did not suc- 
ceed; and the catastrophe occurred. Nevertheless, he seems 
even then not to have thrown off his delusion as to the possible 
reconciliatory effect of a foreign complication ; and it continued 
with him until after the catastrophe at Bull Run. Indulging in 
a belief that Confederate resistance would prove a delusion, and 
would collapse under the first blow from Washington, he pre- 
pared the Despatch No. 10 of May 21. It is not generally 
understood that in the original draft of this highly aggressive 
communication Mr. Adams was instructed to confine himself 
"simply to a delivery of a copy of this paper to the Secretary of 
State [Russell], and then to break off all official intercourse 
with the British Government." Further instructions were 
then given him as to what policy should be pursued "when in- 
tercourse shall have been arrested from this cause." 2 As orig- 

1 On this point, see Bancroft, Seward, 11. 145; letter of Montgomery Blair 
of May 13, 1873, in Welles, Lincoln and Seward, 58, 66; Welles, Diary, 1. 9, 32; 
11. 160, 248. 

2 Nicolay and Hay, iv. 271. 


inally drawn, the despatch amounted practically to a declara- 
tion of war; as such, it will be remembered, it was modified in 
essential respects by the President only in face of strong oppo- 
sition on the part of the Secretary. 1 

Even while penning this despatch, Seward moreover put on 
record an utter misapprehension of his own position, writing to 
his wife: "A country so largely relying on my poor efforts to 
save it had refused me the full measure of its confidence, need- 
ful to that end. I am a chief reduced to a subordinate position, 
and surrounded by a guard, to see that I do not do too much 
for my country." Mr. Bancroft, therefore, in his Life, 2 does not 
apparently go too far when he says that at this time Seward 
was the " victim of an incomprehensible illusion," adding: 
"The only theory on which this illusion can be explained, even 
from his point of view, is that by giving full play to his imagina- 
tion he was strengthened in the belief that the Union could not 
be restored unless the 'chief ' could get free from his 'subordinate 
position' and push aside the 'guard' that was preventing him 
from doing too much for his country, and that all could be ac- 
complished by means of a foreign war, which would put him in 
control, because it would grow out of questions within the 
province of his duties." 

Whatever his policy may have been, therefore, it would seem 
that the Secretary of State was practically thwarted in his 
efforts to carry it out, and reduced into what he himself consid- 
ered a "subordinate position." In view of what has already 
been said in this paper, it is hardly necessary to point out that 
the "guard" referred to in the foregoing extract from Mr. Ban- 
croft's Life was Senator Sumner, then alluded to by Mr. Seward 
as a supernumerary Secretary of State in Washington, accord- 
ing to Mr. Welles "far too frequently consulted on controverted 
or disputed international questions." 3 The evidence on this 
head is not, however, confined to Mr. Welles. In a passage from 
his Diary already quoted, it will be remembered that Russell at- 
tributes this thwarting of action on the part of Seward largely to 
the intervention of Senator Sumner. Mr. Sumner was certainly 
in Washington at the time the Despatch No. 10 was approved 
by the President "with its teeth drawn," and he went back to 

1 Russell, My Diary, July 3, 1861. 

2 Seward, 11. 173. 3 Welles, Lincoln and Seward, 90, 161, 185. 


Boston in so excited a frame of mind that Mr. Dana, whom he 
shortly afterwards met, wrote to Mr. Adams that he was "so 
full of denunciations of Mr. Seward that it was suggestive of a 
heated state of brain." Mr. Dana added: "He cannot talk 
five minutes without bringing in Mr. Seward, and always in 
bitter terms of denunciation. His mission is to expose and de- 
nounce Mr. Seward; and into that mission he puts all his usual 
intellectual and moral energy." According to Mr. Sumner, 
Seward was systematically "pursuing a course of correspond- 
ence, language, and manner calculated to bring England and 
France to coldness, if not to open rupture." l Then a mys- 
tery, what Mr. Sumner had in mind has now been disclosed. 
He spoke not altogether unadvisedly. 2 

In that portion of his History relating to this period Mr. 
Rhodes says: "A fair statement of Northern sentiment by the 
4th of July [1861] is that, although most of the rebels would be 
pardoned by a gracious government, Jefferson Davis and the 
men captured on board of vessels bearing his letters of marque 
should be hanged." 3 In other words, during the period under 
consideration the country as well as Mr. Seward had for the time 
being abdicated all sanity of judgment. Confident of an early 
and decisive military success, both the Secretary of State and 
the community at large were disposing in advance of the spoils 
and captives. The Secretary was, also, in the way natural to 
him, arranging a diplomatic program in which scant, if any, 
consideration was to be shown foreign nations. In other words, 
he was preparing a theatrical appeal to that spirit of American 
nationality in the might of which he had such implicit, if some- 
what sentimental, faith. 

Such then, so far as the evidence warrants conclusions, was 
the attitude of Mr. Seward, and such the policy he strove to 
impose. That policy was, it would also appear, based on several 

1 C. F. Adams Mss., Boston, June 4, 1861. 

2 "Mr. Sumner, as the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, is 
supposed to be viewed with some jealousy by Mr. Seward, on account of the dis- 
position attributed to him to interfere in diplomatic questions; but if he does so, 
we shall have no reason to complain, as the Senator is most desirous of keeping 
the peace between the two countries, and of mollifying any little acerbities and 
irritations which may at present exist between them." Russell, Diary, July 5, 

8 Vol. m. 429. 


propositions almost equally erroneous. First, he quite misap- 
prehended the situation as respected his chieftaincy in the 
conduct of the administration, and responsibility therefor. 
Second, he labored under a delusion as to the feeling existing in 
the community composing the Confederacy. Third, and most 
dangerous of all, was his deception connected with the ques- 
tion of privateering as a weapon in modern warfare, whether 
in the hands of the Confederacy as against the Union, or in the 
hands of the national government as against foreign nations, 
especially this last. As already more than once pointed out, 
Seward seems to have really believed that it was but necessary 
for the United States, as representative of democracy, to raise 
its hand, to cause, as he himself was wont to express it, "the 
world to be wrapped in fire." 

That it should have been possible for a representative New 
York politician to indulge in good faith in such a degree of in- 
fatuation hitherto has constituted, and will probably long con- 
tinue to constitute, an historical enigma. That it was in his 
case a passing delusion is true; as also that in its more publicly 
dangerous form it did not survive the shock of July 21st. 
Meanwhile, during the period of obsession, so to speak, the 
danger of privateering and the use of privateering seem to have 
been always present to the Secretary's mind. It was privateer- 
ing, moreover, of the type of fifty years before, — that in vogue 
in his youth, during the War of 181 2. Accordingly, in his de- 
spatch of the 21st of May, he wrote to Mr. Adams that " Hap- 
pily, Her Britannic Majesty's Government can avoid all these 
difficulties. It invited us in 1856 to accede to the Declaration 
of Paris, of which body Great Britain was herself a member, 
abolishing privateering everywhere in all cases and forever." 
He then suggests a negotiation, saying that Mr. Adams already 
had authority to propose the accession of the United States to 
the Paris Declaration, and inviting him to negotiate to that 
end. 1 

The trouble with Mr. Seward's subsequent position was 
simple, — it was impossible! He wished to do, and yet not to 
do. He wanted to commit the insurgents as included in the 
sovereignty of the United States, but not to commit the United 
States, in case of hostilities with European powers growing 

1 Nicolay and Hay, iv. 273. 


out of the existing complications. He could not bring himself 
to admit that a blockade conducted under the rules of inter- 
national law was impossible except as an act of belligerency, 
and that belligerency implied two parties to it. This necessary 
and inevitable proposition both of logic and international 
usage he obstinately refused to admit. In other words, so far 
as accession to the Declaration of Paris was concerned, Mr. 
Seward during the period in question seems mentally to have 
exerted himself to the extent of self-persuasion that the conflict 
in which the country was engaged was a war so far as the United 
States was concerned, and a war or not a war so far as the 
foreign powers were concerned, as the interest of the United 
States might dictate. Moreover, he confidently maintained it 
was a war conducted in accordance with established inter- 
national usage, to which so far as foreign nations were affected 
there was but a single party, — that party representing abso- 
lute sovereignty, while, under some rule vaguely alluded to as 
in existence, the insurrectionary power was composed not of 
belligerents but solely of bandits and pirates — outlaws. 

That he might possibly have succeeded in this diplomatic 
tour de force, had the United States forces achieved a decisive 
and brilliant success at Bull Run, is within the range of possi- 
bilities. In view of what actually occurred, this possibility is, 
however, hardly worthy of consideration. It is sufficient here 
to say that the policy of Mr. Seward during the three months 
in question, so far as the actual record shows, was based on 
misapprehension; misapprehension not less of the position he 
himself occupied than of the situation as it existed both in the 
Confederacy and in Europe. Moreover, his contentions were 
quite devoid of any foundation in the accepted principles of 
international law. Somewhat transparent, the carrying of his 
scheme into actual operation would almost necessarily have 
resulted in a practical challenge of foreign nations at once to 
recognize the Confederacy as a member of the family of 
nations. It is difficult indeed to see how it could well have 
failed so to do. Ill-advised, illogical, and contradictory, the 
diplomatic policy pursued during this brief and early stage of 
the Civil War constitutes almost as complete an enigma now 
as it did to Mr. Adams then, or thirty years later to Mr. 
Rhodes. In many aspects it is, and is likely to remain, im- 


possible of satisfactory explanation for the simple reason that 
it is incomprehensible. 

Thus, in the outcome of this inquiry, I find myself back at the 
point of commencement. As a diplomatic episode, the abortive 
negotiation over the accession of the United States to the 
articles of the Declaration of Paris bore a strong family re- 
semblance to the equally abortive though far more disgrace- 
ful and calamitous military performance known as the first 
Manassas advance. Both were ill-considered incidents, in no 
respect creditable, characteristic of a distinct because a danger- 
ously emotional period in the history of the American people, 
— that is, the hundred days between Fort Sumter and Bull 

Note by the Editor. 

Mr. Adams, on p. 30 supra, speaks of the letters prepared by 
Secretary Welles on letters of marque in 1863. The Editor has com- 
piled the following notes on the law which called out those letters. 
They indicate that the measure was due to Seward, that it was based 
upon the principles and practice of 181 2, that it was intended as a 
menace to European governments, and that France promptly 
recognized the intent. 

Writing to C. F. Adams, July 12, 1862, Seward instructing him 
to inform Earl Russell, that "since the Oreto and other gunboats 
are being received by the insurgents from Europe to renew demon- 
strations on our national commerce, Congress is about to authorize 
the issue of letters of marque and reprisal, and that if we find it 
necessary to suppress that piracy, we shall bring privateers into 
service for that purpose, and, of course, for that purpose only." l 
Upon the same day that this despatch was written a bill on letters of 
marque was introduced into the Senate. The bill had been drafted 
by Seward. 

The legislative history of the law of March 3, 1863, is briefly as 
follows. On July 12, 1862, Senator Grimes introduced a bill au- 
thorizing the President "whenever war exists or has been declared 
between the United States and any other nation," to issue to private 
vessels of the United States, commissions, or letters of marque and 
general reprisal. The conduct, rights, duties and mode of proceed- 
ings, and regulations of letters of marque, their prizes and prize 
goods, were to conform to and be under the provisions of the act of 

1 Diplomatic Correspondence, 1862, 135. 


June 26, 181 2. In explaining the bill Senator Grimes stated (July 
14) that he introduced the measure because there were some ten 
or twelve iron steamers at Bermuda, Nassau and other points in the 
vicinity of the West Indies, under the British, but only waiting a 
favorable moment to raise the Confederate flag. Senator Hender- 
son objected to privateering as likely to embroil us with foreign 
countries, and believed it better to destroy such Confederate com- 
merce as existed by armed vessels of the United States. The ports 
of the South were blockaded; so why send out privateers to inter- 
fere with a commerce declared not to exist? Senator Grimes agreed 
in his opposition to privateering, but said he represented the opin- 
ions, "as I understand them, of the Administration, who desire to 
have this power to exercise it, if an emergency arises which in their 
judgment will justify them in exercising it." Senator Trumbull 
argued that the measure would be a "recognition" of the rebels. 
"You might just as well declare war against them." The bill was 
also opposed by Senator Hale. "The Administration do not wish 
it so much as to make any formal communication to Congress, as 
I understand it, in favor of it." Opposition led to no action that 

It was reintroduced in January, 1863, referred to the Committee 
on Naval Affairs, and reported back January 20. Senator Trumbull 
(February 14) said: "It is a measure to be resorted to against a 
foreign nation. A resort to the issuing of letters of marque and 
reprisal against rebels and insurrectionists is a thing unheard of in 
any country before." Senator Sumner asked: "Why, sir, what is a 
letter of marque? It is a privateer. And what is a privateer? It 
is a private armed ship, owned by private individuals, cruising at 
its own will against the commerce of an enemy, and paid by booty." 
And again on February 17 he asserted: "As there is no foreign war 
in which we are now engaged, this provision is prospective and mina- 
tory, so far as foreign nations are concerned. It is notice to all the 
world to avoid any question with us, under the penalty of depreda- 
tions by our privateers. If not a menace, it is very like one. I do 
not know that it will be so interpreted by those to whom it is ad- 
dressed; but I am sure that it can do no good; and just in proportion 
as it is so interpreted, it will be worse than useless. A menace is 
as ill-timed between nations as' between individuals. . . . If the 
words are introduced as a menace, then are they out of place and 
irrational. Suppose any such words were introduced into the legis- 
lation of Great Britain or France at a moment when they would be 
interpreted as applicable to us, who can doubt the injurious effect 
they would have upon public opinion here? A generous, intelligent 


people will not bend before menace; nor can any such influence 
affect its well-considered policy. I think that all history and reason 
show that such conduct would be more irritating than soothing in 
its character." l 

The bill passed, February 17, by a vote of 27 to 9. Nays: Davis, 
Dixon, Henderson, Howard, Lane of Ind., Pomeroy, Sumner, 
Trumbull, and Wilson of Mo. 

Before the House took up the measure, Seward wrote to Dayton, 
February 20, of its having passed the Senate, and the probability of 
its passing the House and becoming a law. "It is not unlikely, in 
that event, that the measure may possibly be misapprehended 
abroad. Should this prove to be the case at Paris, and explanations 
in regard to it should be asked of you, or in your judgment be likely 
to prove useful, you may say that, as the bill stands, the executive 
government will be left at liberty to put the law in force in its dis- 
cretion, and that thus far the proper policy in regard to the exercise 
of that discretion has not engaged the President's attention. If no 
extreme circumstances shall exist when it may become expedient to 
put the act in force against the insurgents, every proper effort will 
be made to prevent surprise on the part of friendly nations, whose 
commerce and navigation it might be feared would be incidentally 
and indirectly affected." 2 

The bill was taken up in the House February 21. Mr. Cox: "It 
is not so much as a measure against rebels in arms. It is in reality 
a threat to be held in terrorem over enemies in any future war with 
the maritime nations of Europe." After some debate it passed 
the House March 2, but the vote is not given. It was approved 
by the President March 3. The evidence shows it was rushed 
through Congress in the last hours of the session. 

March 9, in connection with the destruction of the Jacob Bell by 
the Florida, Seward wrote to C. F. Adams: "Congress has conferred 
upon the President ample power for the execution of the latter 
measure [letters of marque], and the necessary arrangements for it 
are now engaging the attention of the proper Departments. It is 
not without great reluctance that the President is coming to the 
adoption of that policy. But the preservation of the national life is 
a supreme necessity; and if there shall be no improvement in the 
condition of things to which I have adverted, the voice of the nation 
for the adoption of this last form of maritime war is likely to become 
unanimous and exacting." 

On March 10 the Regulations for carrying the law into effect 

1 Sumner's remarks are printed in Works, vu. 278. 

2 Diplomatic Correspondence, 1863, 1. 644. 


were submitted to the Cabinet, having been prepared by the State 
Department. 1 

March 17, they were discussed, Seward and Chase favoring. 2 
Welles was ill for a fortnight after, but on March 31 resumed the 
consideration of the question. 3 In the meantime Seward wrote 
(March 24) to C. F. Adams: "You will not give credit to newspaper 
statements about a decision in no case to employ private armed 
ships. The President, as you might well imagine, considers — he 
does not yet decide." 4 

Seward to Adams, April 7. "Applications for letters of marque 
and reprisal to insure the success of the naval operations against 
the insurgents are coming in, and the question of the propriety of 
granting them is fixing the public attention." 5 

Dayton to Seward, April 9, 1863. "Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys, while 
not questioning our right to issue letters of marque, seemed, I 
thought, to deprecate it as an act uncalled for under existing cir- 
cumstances, and calculated to produce troublesome complications." 6 

Seward to Dayton, April 24. "Congress has committed to the 
President, as a weapon of national defence, the authority to issue 
letters of marque. We know that it is a weapon that cannot be 
handled without great danger of annoyance to the neutrals and 
friendly commercial powers. But even that hazard must be in- 
curred rather than quietly submit to the apprehended greater evil 
[unrestrained issue of piratical vessels from Europe to destroy our 
commerce]." 7 

March 20 the Department of State had in print "Instructions" 
and "Regulations" for "Private Armed Vessels of the United States," 
a circular of seven pages. "It appears that in April, 1863, a citizen 
of New York applied for letters, and was invited by Mr. Seward to 
a conference, which resulted in the submission by the former of 
certain propositions. These were communicated by Mr. Seward 
to Mr. Welles, with the statement that; 'in view of a slight improve- 
ment of the disposition of the British Government in regard to 
assisting the fitting out of piratical vessels,' it seemed 'inexpedient 
to proceed at this moment to the issue of letters of marque.'" 8 
No letters appear to have been issued under the law of March, 

Mr. Stanwood read a paper on 

- * Welles, Diary. 1. 246. 2 lb., 247. 

3 Diary, 1. 250, 252. * Diplomatic Correspondence, 1863, 1. 155. 

5 lb., 198. ' e Ibt) 65S . 

7 lb., 662. 8 Moore, Digest, vn. 556. 


The Development under the Constitution of the 
President's Power. 

Mr. Bryce, in his wonderful analysis of the American Com- 
monwealth, wrote as follows on the subject of the Executive: 
"The President has developed a capacity for becoming, in 
moments of national peril, something like a Roman dictator. 
He is, in quiet times, no stronger than he was at first, possibly 

The first edition of that great work was published in 1888. I 
do not think Mr. Bryce could express the same opinion to-day; 
for my part I do not think it was accurate at the time it was 
written, although it has become increasingly inaccurate in the 
last quarter of a century. It is only necessary to consider the 
share in the government of the first two Presidents and of the 
last two, to perceive how far the statement is from being correct. 

Mr. Gladstone said that our Constitution was the most per- 
fect instrument "ever struck off at a given time from the brain 
and purpose of man"; and although Professor Channing is 
right in declaring — apparently criticising the phrase "at a 
given time" — that it was "the result of the experience of the 
English race in England and America," yet the whole merit of 
the framers lies in their ability to consolidate that experience, 
to select from the lessons of the experience those things which 
it was wise to retain and those to discard, and to mould all that 
experience and invention supplied them into an orderly and 
enduring constitution of government. There is no fact of 
history more striking than that a plan devised for such a people 
as were the inhabitants of the thirteen States in 1787 has been 
adequate, with surprisingly little change, — with no essential 
change, — for a nation occupying half a continent, gathered 
from all the countries of the world, and numbering a hundred 
millions. The whole secret lies in the adaptability of the Con- 
stitution. "Commerce with foreign nations and among the 
several States" is a broad phrase. We know what it meant at 
the close of the eighteenth century, and we are learning day by 
day what it means now. Up to date it, as a power vested in 
Congress, authorizes a law forbidding a railway company whose 
lines cross a State frontier from employing any of its train- 


hands more than a certain number of hours a day. And we 
have just learned that the power '"to establish post-offices and 
post-roads " covers the right to require newspaper publishers 
to make known the ownership of their publications, the names 
of their editors and the extent of their business. 

These are but two of a hundred illustrations that might be 
given of the elasticity that has been discovered in the language 
of the Constitution. The fact is that the functions of each of 
the three great divisions of the government have been enor- 
mously enlarged. The changes have been made without any 
actual violation of the words of the Constitution, and they have 
been made with the acquiescence of the people, and for the 
most part in response to the popular will. The doctrine of 
"implied powers" has been immensely serviceable to Congress, 
— and the power of the Supreme Court, — how far we have 
travelled from the principles of the Virginia and Kentucky 
resolutions of 1798 and 1799! 

The Constitution confers a variety of powers upon the Presi- 
dent and imposes upon him but a single duty, — that "he shall 
take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Let us classify 
the powers between those which are so definite that they could 
be and were exercised to the fullest extent from the beginning, 
and those where there has been an opportunity for expansion 
and extension. 

1. He is commander-in-chief of the army and navy. Yet no 
President has ever taken the field in actual command of the 

2. He may grant reprieves and pardons. 

3. He may summon Congress to meet in extraordinary 

4. He may make treaties, with the concurrence of two-thirds 
of the Senate. 

5. He may receive ambassadors and foreign ministers. This 
power is on the border land between the two classes ; for under 
it the Presidents have always, from the beginning of the gov- 
ernment, claimed and exercised, in spite of occasionally strong 
opposition by Congress, the right to decide as to the recognition 
of foreign governments. 

In the other class are the following: 

1. The President has the power, in conjunction with the 


Senate, to appoint all the principal officers of the govern- 

2. He may fill vacancies in office that happen during the 
recess of the Senate. 

3. He has a veto power over legislation, which veto may be 
overruled by Congress. 

4. He may give information to Congress and recommend 
measures for its consideration. 

As for three of the four powers last mentioned there has been a 
great extension of the President's authority as at first under- 
stood; as regards the remaining power — the second in the above 
statement — there has been an unsuccessful effort by a Presi- 
dent to extend his power. Let us take them in order. 

The power of appointment to office, as conferred in the Con- 
stitution, is definite and absolute. But the power to appoint 
implies a power to remove. Where does that power reside? It 
may be said with truth that from the time of Washington it 
has always been conceded absolutely to the President, except 
during the time of the Tenure-of-Office Act. But that does not 
tell the whole story. Hamilton held * that the right was to be 
shared by the President and the Senate, equally with the power 
of appointment. Chancellor Kent, writing during the adminis- 
tration of John Quincy Adams, at a time when there had been 
no scandalous use of the power by any President, took the 
contrary view, and held that the right to remove officers prop- 
erly resided in the President exclusively. Story, writing a few 
years later, in the administration of Jackson, referred to that 
President's " extraordinary change of system," and remarked 
that "Many of the most eminent statesmen in the country 
have expressed a deliberate opinion that it is utterly indefen- 
sible, and that the only sound interpretation of the Constitu- 
tion is that avowed upon its adoption; that is to say, that the 
power of removal belongs to the appointing power." 

How, then, was it decided in the first place? Almost by 
accident, and by the casting vote of the Vice-President, John 
Adams. When the First Congress was organizing the Depart- 
ment of Foreign Affairs, there was contained in the bill a clause 
providing that the Secretary should appoint a chief clerk who 
was to discharge the duties of the office " whenever the said 
1 Federalist, No. lxxvii. 


principal officer shall be removed from office by the President 
of the United States." The clause was vigorously attacked in 
the Senate, after having encountered some opposition in the 
House of Representatives. It practically denied the co-ordinate 
power of the Senate in the matter of removals. In those times 
the Senate held no open sessions, and our only authority as to 
what took place is the racy diary of William Maclay, one of the 
first senators from Pennsylvania. He insinuates that the 
" court party" used all its endeavors to prevent the elimination 
of the clause. The debate was very angry. Some senators are 
mentioned by name as having " recanted" after having spoken 
against the clause. When at last the vote was taken on the 
amendment the result was a tie — ten to ten. Maclay, who 
had conceived a violent antipathy to Mr. Adams, records: 
"The Vice-President with joy cried out, 'It is not a vote!' 
without giving himself time to declare the division of the House 
and give his vote in order." 

That chance division decided the question until the time of 
Andrew Johnson, and, since the repeal of the Tenure-of -Office 
Act during Grant's administration, the question has not been 
raised. The history of the use of the power of removal is in- 
teresting, but is too familiar to be entered into at this time. It 
is sufficient to say that Jackson set the pace for his successors 
by removing three times as many officers in the first year of 
his term as had been removed during the forty years that pre- 
ceded his advent. Thereafter both parties, when in power, 
practised the "spoils system" shamelessly until the movement 
for civil service reform became effective. In this particular, 
then, we see that the original interpretation of the Constitu- 
tion was changed during the first year of the government, and 
that the change ultimately led to such scandals and abuses 
that although the interpretation was not reversed measures 
have been found and adopted to mitigate the evil. 

In connection with the appointing power the President is 
allowed to fill vacancies that may happen during the recess of 
the Senate. There has been much discussion as to whether the 
clause means that he may appoint whenever there is a vacancy 
existing when the Senate is not in session, or whether the more 
literal interpretation, that the vacancy may not be filled by 
him unless it then first occurs, or "happens," should prevail. 


It is settled, however, by long practice that an appointment is 
made and is valid, if there be a vacancy during a recess of the 
Senate, no matter when it occurred. In 1867 Congress refused 
to adjourn half an hour before a new Congress was to begin its 
first session, in order to prevent President Johnson, whom 
Senator Sumner on that occasion characterized as "a bad 
man," from making recess appointments in the intervening 
space of thirty minutes. But in 1903 President Roosevelt gave 
recess appointments to Mr. Crum as Collector at Charleston, 
and to 168 army officers, at the head of the list General Leonard 
Wood, on the ground that there was a "constructive" recess 
between the close of the extraordinary session at twelve o'clock, 
noon, December 2, and the beginning of the regular annual 
session at twelve o'clock, noon, December 2. That is recent 
history. The right to make such appointments was success- 
fully disputed, and undoubtedly the attempt to drive that 
wedge into an infinitesimal fraction of a second will never be 
made again. 

The present understanding and exercise of the veto power is 
vastly different from that which prevailed in the early years 
under the Constitution, and is likewise vastly different from the 
intention of those who framed that instrument. It was hardly 
suggested in the convention, and then by one member only, 
that there was any other reason for giving the power to the 
President than to enable him to protect himself against en- 
croachment by Congress upon his constitutional rights. Madi- 
son, Hamilton and others were constantly urging the necessity 
of curbing the legislative branch of the government. They did 
not fear that a despotism might be established by the Executive, 
but they did wish to guard against the danger which Madi- 
son expressed thus: "The legislative department is everywhere 
extending the sphere of its activity, and drawing all power into 
its impetuous vortex." Washington vetoed but two bills, — 
one, an apportionment bill, on the ground of unconstitutional- 
ity, which he was urged to veto by Jefferson not only on that 
ground but in order to assert a power which the people might 
come to believe was never to be exercised; and the other be- 
cause it was ill-drawn and self -contradictory. Neither John 
Adams nor Jefferson vetoed any bill. In the next sixteen years 
there were seven vetoes, six of them on constitutional grounds 



and one on account of a defect in drafting. John Quincy Adams 
did not once exercise the power. 

There were, then, nine vetoes in all in the first forty years of 
government under the Constitution. Even Jackson, who came 
next, returned only nine bills without his approval in eight 
years. But he introduced the practice of setting up his indi- 
vidual judgment as superior to that of the two Houses of Con- 
gress, by claiming the privilege of deciding finally as to the 
expediency of measures. It is not in official human nature to 
surrender a right which any predecessor in office has success- 
fully asserted, and since Jackson's time every President has 
interpreted literally the grant of power: "If he approve, he 
shall sign it." But it is only in comparatively recent times 
that the power has been exercised in a wholesale way, for in 
the twenty-eight years between the end of Jackson's adminis- 
tration and the advent of Andrew Johnson, only thirty-one 
bills were returned to Congress unsigned. But the next twenty 
years produced a crop of eighty-four, and President Cleve- 
land broke all records, to use a sporting phrase, by vetoing 
346 bills, to say nothing of twelve "pocket" vetoes. Most 
of them, to be sure, were vetoes of pension bills. President 
Roosevelt stands second on the list of those who have used the 
veto power freely, for he returned forty bills during the seven 
and a half years of his chief magistracy. 

Von Hoist, referring to a matter that has been often dis- 
cussed, whether the veto of the President is a legislative power, 
expresses the opinion that it is not, for the reason that the Con- 
stitution declares that "all legislative power herein granted 
is vested" in Congress. That seems to me a little like begging 
the question, as it assumes that an inconsistency in the Consti- 
tution is impossible and unthinkable. Let us consider it in 
connection with the other power granted to the President, 
which has not yet been considered. The Constitution gives 
this, among the functions which it assigns to the President: 
"He shall, from time to time, give to the Congress informa- 
tion of the state of the Union, and recommend to their con- 
sideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and 

There was not at any time a word of debate on this clause, in 
the Convention of 1787; the Federalist makes no comment 


upon it; Kent merely quotes the clause; Story writes at some 
length in justification of it, but gives no hint of such an expan- 
sion of the idea as we find in the practice of our modern Presi- 
dents. It is plain to every one that what the framers of the 
Constitution had in mind was the King's speech in opening 
Parliament, — a broad statement of the condition of the coun- 
try and its foreign relations, and a brief mention of subjects 
which he deems it advisable for Congress to consider. That 
was the way the earliest Presidents regarded the matter. The 
addresses of Washington and of John Adams were modelled 
strictly on the King's speech, and at first they were not much 
longer or couched in much less general terms. They soon in- 
creased in length, and the information contained in them was 
given in more precise and detailed form. Moreover the recom- 
mendations became more definite, and the necessity of measures 
was more fully and carefully argued. But until recently all 
such recommendations were general in their nature. Congress 
was asked to pass acts to accomplish certain ends, but there 
was no going into details, no statement of specific provisions, 
no intimation that the act to be passed must be emphatic and 
explicit on this point or that — or the measure would not be 
satisfactory and would encounter a veto. All this is to be found 
in some of the recent executive communications, and is to be 
found still more in the private communications to members of 
the two Houses whom our Presidents now summon to the White 
House to learn the pleasure of the Executive. It requires a 
familiarity with the Presidents' messages from the beginning 
to appreciate the difference, but a study of them will reveal 
what I have indicated. In short, the early Presidents asked 
Congress to take up and consider certain topics; Congress did 
or did not heed the suggestions; but when it did consider such 
subjects it formulated bills satisfactory to itself, and sent 
them to the President, who approved or disapproved them as 
seemed to him best. At the present day the President indicates 
his will as to the terms of important measures, and lets it be 
known that a departure from those terms will render futile 
all that Congress may have done. 

It seems to me that the change which has taken place has 
constituted the President in very truth a third branch of the 
legislature. There are three steps in the enactment of a law: 


the initiative, the introduction of the measure; the considera- 
tion of amendments; and the final passage. The modern 
President performs all three of these functions. He proposes 
measures; he indicates the form they shall take; and if his 
views are met he signs them, — that is, he passes them. If it 
be said that Congress need not consider any subject proposed 
to it by him unless it sees fit, it may be replied that neither can 
the Senate nor the House of Representatives be forced to take 
up a matter proposed to it by the other branch unless it is will- 
ing. Moreover, as neither branch of the legislature will pass 
a bill unless its terms are satisfactory, so the President will not 
agree unless he also is satisfied. The conferences that are now 
held at the White House when bills are pending in which the 
President takes a deep interest, correspond closely to the com- 
mittees of conference between the two authorized branches 
of the legislative department; and of course the signature of 
the President corresponds to the final passage of a measure 
at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. 

I am aware that the statements I have made and the posi- 
tion taken are highly political in their nature, and there would 
be no excuse for bringing the subject to the attention of this 
Society were the change not also an important historical fact. 
It is as far as possible from my intention to leave the impression 
that I am making a political argument against it. No one can 
say that the letter of the Constitution has been in the slightest 
degree violated. The increase of the President's power has been 
derived as plausibly from the language of the Constitution as 
most of the other developments of the last century and a quar- 
ter, — more plausibly than some of them, — and, what is vastly 
more important, it has, like the rest, been accomplished without 
a protest on the part of Congress that a portion of its power 
which the Constitution vested exclusively in it has been usurped. 
It has also been fully acquiesced in by the people. In such 
circumstances it would be foolish perhaps, futile certainly, 
to attempt or even to suggest a return to the old system, which 
was that intended by the fathers. Nevertheless there is room 
for a wide difference of opinion among students of the history of 
political institutions whether the change is one altogether 
harmless to political liberty. But that is a subject on which it 
would be inappropriate in this place to enter. 

1912.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 93 

Bright-Sumner Letters, i 861-187 2. 

Mr. Rhodes submitted the following letters from John 
Bright to Charles Sumner, in continuation of those printed 
in Proceedings, xlv. 148. The originals are in the Sumner 
Papers in the library of Harvard College. 1 

Private. Rochdale, England, September 6, 1861. 

My dear Mr. Sumner, — I have often thought of writing to you 
during the last few months, but have been afraid to intrude upon 
you. I have grieved, as you have, over the calamities in which you 
are now involved, but have felt as though I could say nothing worth 
your reading, and that the case was one too complicated and too 
terrible for any stranger to interfere in it. 

And now I write only to express the anxiety with which I regard 
the progress of your revolution; for whether yOu come to separa- 
tion or to reunion, the result of what is now passing in your country 
must be a revolution. Judging from this distance I confess I am 
unable to see any prospect of reunion through a conquest of the 
South, and I should grieve to see it thro' any degrading concessions 
on the part of the North. I confess I am surprised at the difficul- 
ties you meet with even in the Border States. It would seem that 
the separation, in regard to feeling and interests, had made a fatal 
progress before secession was openly proclaimed. For surely if 
there was a large and preponderating sympathy for the Union in 
those States, the Northern forces would have great advantages 
over the South in the conduct of their operations, which they do 
not now appear to have. It has always seemed to me that the only 
way ultimately to save the Union, since the election of President 
Lincoln, was to offer abolition to the Border States on a full com- 
pensation, and thus to bind them indissolubly to the North. 2 The 
Cotton States alone are too weak to form a nation or to resist the 
overwhelming power of the North. To compensate the Border 
States and to make them free States would require less money than 
the cost of the war for one year, and a loan for that purpose could 
be easily raised in this country. But I suppose that up to the be- 
ginning of the war your democratic party would not have listened 
to such a scheme, and that since that time the Border States them- 
selves could not be negociated with, and that therefore I am writing 
of what, however good as a project, is wholly impracticable. 

1 The letters written by Richard Cobden to Charles Sumner were printed by 
Mr. Edward L. Pierce in the American Historical Review, 11. 306. 

2 This plan was proposed in Lincoln's message to Congress, March 6, 1862. 


I am anxious about the course taken by our Government, having, 
as you know, no confidence in our Prime Minister, and little in his 
colleague at the Foreign Office. 1 I think the one capable of any 
evil, and the other capricious and liable to act from passion or 
sudden change of purpose, tho' I hope not ill meaning to your 

You will see they are sending troops to Canada. I cannot make 
out what this is for. It has been customary for the English Govern- 
ment to move ships and troops whenever and wherever any disturb- 
ance is going on ("to be ready for any emergency," and generally to 
meddle in it). This is the tradition of the last two centuries, and 
Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell are saturated with it. What 
they do may be no more than this, and I hope it is not; but I wish 
they would let even that alone. Again I don't place much faith in 
their minister at Washington. 2 I once saw him, and dined in his 
company at Rome, and did not form a high opinion of his capacity. 
He may be well meaning, but he ought to be acute and firm, and 
thoroughly friendly to your Government, which possibly he is; but 
I happen to know that some persons here have not been without 
anxiety as to the manner in which he regards what is passing with 
you. The Times newspaper, as you know, will willingly make 
mischief if its patrons want mischief; and on your side you have the 
New York Herald doing Southern work when it dares to do it, and 
stirring up ill-blood with England as the best mode of helping its 
Southern friends. Public opinion here is in a languid and confused 
state. The upper and ruling class have some satisfaction, I sus- 
pect, in your troubles. They think two nations on your northern 
continent more easy to deal with than one, and they see, without 
grief, that democracy may get into trouble, and war, and debt, and 
taxes, as aristocracy has done for this country. 

The middle class wish abolition to come out of your contentions, 
but they are irritated by your foolish Tariff; and having so lately 
become free traders themselves, of course, they are great purists 
now, and severely condemn you. In this district we have a good 
many friends of the South. The men who go South every year to 
buy Cotton for our spinners, and those among our spinners and 
merchants, who care little for facts and right, and go just where 
their interest seems to point. I have not so far seen any considerable 
manifestation of a disposition to urge our Government to interfere 
in your affairs, and yet, with some, doubtless, there is a hope that 
France and England will not permit their cotton manufacture to be 

1 Palmerston and Russell. 

2 Richard Bickerton Pemell, Baron Lyons (1817-1887). 

igi2.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 95 

starved out by your contest. There is a great anxiety as to what 
is coming. Our Mills are just now reducing their working time to 
four days, and some of them to three days in the week. This is not 
universal or general, but it is spreading, and will soon become 
general I cannot doubt. Working half time we can go on till April 
or May perhaps, but this will cause suffering and discontent, and it 
is possible pressure may be put upon the Government to take some 
step supposed likely to bring about a change. I preach the doc- 
trine that the success of the North is our nearest way to a remedy, 
but there are those who hold a contrary opinion. Lords Palmerston 
and Russell in public speak in a friendly tone, and I have been dis- 
posed to believe in the honest disposition of the latter; but I do not 
like the moving of troops to Canada, for it indicates some idea of 
trouble in the future. They may only fear it, acting on ancient 
tradition, and may not intend it. Still with our upper class hos- 
tility to your country and Government, with the wonderful folly 
of your Tariff telling against you here, and with the damage arising 
from the blockade of the Southern ports, you will easily understand 
that the feeling here is not so thorough and cordial with you as I 
could wish it to be. At the same time there is a strong feeling of 
regret at what has happened, and many console themselves with 
the hope that the great question of the future condition of your 
four million negroes is about to be solved. I do not see how you can 
move for Emancipation within your Constitution, or without giv- 
ing to the South a complete case in favor of their insurrection; but 
if necessity or the popular feeling should drive you to it, then there 
will I think be no power in this country able to give any support to 
the South. Many who cavil at you now say, "if the war was for 
liberating the slave, then we could see something worth righting 
for, and we could sympathize with the North." I cannot urge you 
to this course; the remedy for slavery would be almost worse than 
the disease, and yet how can such a disease be got rid of without 
some desperate remedy? 

By the way, I heard a few days ago that there are buyers in Man- 
chester from the South, purchasing largely for export from this to 
New Orleans. They say the blockade is but in name, and that 
during the night they can get any goods they want into that port, 
and I suppose into other ports as well. I do not know how this 
is, but I heard this from a person who is making goods which are 
commonly shipped to New Orleans, and who spoke most positively 
on the subject. 

I see from a letter from Mr. Edge, the private correspondent of 
the Morning Star (London paper) who is now in Washington, that 
he is expecting another battle not far from the Capital. I cannot 


wish for a battle, but if it takes place, I hope it may lead to some 
negociation thro' which peace may come. I cannot see how the 
South with its vast territory is to be subdued, if there be any of 
that unanimity among its population which is said to exist, and of 
which there are some proofs. If it be subdued, I cannot see in the 
future a contented section of your great country made up of States 
now passing thro' the crisis of a civil war, with every ferocious pas- 
sion excited against the North, and the prospect being so dark, 
looking thro' the storm of war, I am hoping for something that will 
enable you to negociate. I have no sympathy with the South, their 
folly seems to be extreme, and I think their leading men, who have 
made this insurrection, are traitors to human nature itself. They 
have sought to overthrow the most free Government and the noblest 
constitution the world has ever seen, and they wish to decree the 
perpetual bondage of many millions of human beings. Whatever 
of evil comes to them from the war, they will have richly deserved 
it. But I dread the results of the war to the North. Debt, taxes, 
army, and the corruption which grows inevitably in times when so 
much of public money is being expended, are fearful things. We 
have had them, and have them now in this country; I hope they 
may never grow to so rank a luxuriance in yours. 

And now, after writing all this I leave the matter as I found it 
"All that we know is, nothing can be known." I can give no advice, 
I can point out no way of escape. The devil of slavery has been 
cherished, and now threatens to destroy you; if he is to be driven 
out, as in old time, he will tear and rend you. 

Whatever is done and whatsoever comes, I need not tell you that 
I am for the Government which was founded by your great men of 
eighty years ago, and that all my sympathies and hopes are with 
those who are for freedom. If you are ever again one nation I shall 
rejoice in your greatness; if your Northern States are henceforth to 
form your nation, I shall still have faith in your greatness, and re- 
joice in your renown. Clear of the curse which afflicts the South, 
you will be able, only with a brighter light still, to lead mankind in 
the path of freedom. 

I cannot ask you to write to me, for I can imagine your many 
labors, and your, may I not say, destroying anxieties. Yet I often 
think if I could spend one evening with you, or have a letter from 
you giving me hope of better days, it would afford me an intense 

I trust in the calmness and moderation of your Government and 
people, and I will hope in the same high qualities in ours, to prevent 
any serious estrangement between you and us. I would that every 
man in England felt with you as I do, and that every man in 

1912.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 97 

your country were convinced that every Englishman was his 

As it is I will hope that a wise view of our interests and some 
regard to the requirements of Christian morality will enable us to 
maintain an unbroken amity between your nation and ours. If 
you have a few minutes of leisure at any time, and can tell me any- 
thing, I shall be happy to hear from you, and in strict confidence 
whatever you may be at liberty to say. . . . 

John Bright. 1 

Private. Rochdale, November 20, 1861. 

Dear Mr. Sumnfr, — I have to thank you for your letter of the 
15th ult., and for the note from Mr. Seward. I wish I could accept 
the sanguine view of American affairs expressed in that note. I 
trouble you with this to tell you what is passing here in the public 

The notion of getting cotton by interfering with the blockade is 
abandoned apparently by the simpletons who once entertained it, 
and it is accepted now as a fixed policy that we are to take no part 
in your difficulties. So far opinion has improved and the public 
eye sees more clearly. I think also that I observe a change in re- 
gard to the main question, and less confidence in the fortunes of the 
South, arising from statements published as to their financial diffi- 
culties, and the sufferings caused by their exclusion from all foreign 
trade. At the same time the belief is largely held that their sub- 
jugation is barely, if at all, possible, and that a restoration of the 
Union is not to be looked for. 

The Times correspondent suggests that your Cabinet is an- 
ticipating a compromise after a battle, and a settlement, based, 
it is presumed, not on reconstruction, but on a permanent separation. 
This idea, I suspect, can have no solid foundation; but it meets the 
views of many here, and therefore tends to confirm the opinion that 
the war should not be prolonged, and ought not to have been begun. 
I have heard too, but this is strictly private, that an opinion not con- 
trary to this, has been expressed by some one connected with your 
Mission here. I have seen none of them since our Parliament rose 
in August last, but I have heard what I now state from a person 
who cannot well be mistaken. Next week I expect to be in London, 
and shall probably have an opportunity of learning the exact truth 
on this point. I shall be very glad to know what you think in re- 
gard to the possibility of peace on the basis of a secession, all I see 

1 A part of Sumner's reply, dated October 15, is in Pierce, Memoir and Letters 
of Charles Sumner, iv. 48. 



and hear from your side forbids me to imagine such a thing to be 

I see that Fremont is removed from his command. 1 Judging from 
the published accounts I should conclude that he is not a man fit 
for the command he has held. There has been great expenditure — 
much promise, much time consumed, and apparently nothing done. 
He is popular with his men, and this is in his favor; but the crisis 
requires action, and I have seen nothing of this since he took the 
command in the West. I hope, whether the change is good or bad, 
the Government will maintain its authority in regard to every 
military appointment. 

Looking on from here, the slavery question does not advance 
much. The Government wishes to keep within the line of the Con- 
stitution, and this is most wise, if there is any available amount of 
Union opinion in the South, from which they expect to derive as- 
sistance. The removal of Fremont will strengthen this opinion if 
it exists at all — but it will damp the ardour of the abolitionists in 
the North. 

It is unfortunate that nothing is done to change the reckless tone 
of your New York Herald; between it and the Times of London there 
is great mischief done in both countries. On every question it en- 
deavors to serve the South by attacking England. The Mexican 
expedition is a subject particularly favorable for this line of writing. 
I condemn the expedition as foolish, and likely to cause many com- 
plications; but, if I am not misinformed, it has not been undertaken 
in opposition to the protests of your Government, or of your minister 
here. It is one of the great misfortunes caused by the folly and crime 
of the South that now the European powers can resume their ancient 
practice of interfering on your continent. I hope this practice may 
be put an end to before long by the restoration of the influence of 
the Government of the United States. 

There are a good many men in this country who have spent half 
the year generally in New Orleans, buying cotton for our Spinners. 
They are mostly in favor of the South. One of them, a German, 
yesterday had a long conversation with one of my brothers on the 
war. He was strong in his view as to the impossibility of subduing 
the South, and of restoring the Union, altho' his own individual 
feeling was against the secession. Another of them, strongly for 
the South and an Englishman, admitted to me that he was more 
and more convinced that the slavery question would reach some 
final settlement before the contest was ended. His interests are 
entirely in the South where he has I believe considerable property. 

1 The order of removal was dated October 24. Rhodes, History, m. 482. 

1912.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 99 

I write all this just to show what is thought and said here. The 
dinner at the Lord Mayor's has done good, and Mr. Adams's speech 
has produced a pleasant effect; but I am sorely disgusted that a 
London Company, the "Fishmongers," should have dined the 
Southern Commissioners and applauded them when they described 
their country not yours, as the "land of the free and the home of the 
oppressed." Mr. Yancey must have as much impudence as imagina- 
tion to have said this, and what his auditors were I can hardly trust 
myself to describe. 1 

Some friends of mine in this Town have invited me to a public 
dinner on the 4th of December. I intend to take that opportunity 
for saying something on your great political earthquake, and I 
need not tell you that I shall not abandon the faith I have in the 
greatness of the free North. 

It has been a misfortune here that so little has been said to in- 
struct the public on the true bearings of your question, for it is 
incredible almost how densely ignorant even our middle and upper 
class is with regard to your position. The sympathies of the great 
body of the people here are, I think, quite right, altho' some papers 
supposed to be read by them are wrong. I suspect there has been 
some tampering with a certain accessible portion of the Press. 

I am very anxious that your affairs should take some more de- 
cided turn before our Parliament meets about the 1st of February. 
When a mob of 650 men get together, with party objects and little 
sympathy for you or for the right anywhere, there is no knowing 
what mischief may come out of foolish and wicked speeches, with a 
ministry led by such a man as the present Prime Minister of England. 
However I will hope for the best. 

And now if you have leisure to write to me again, tell me what 
you can. Is any compromise possible or likely on the basis of seces- 
sion, or of reconstruction? 

Is there any ground for believing that your Government relies 
on any considerable feeling of discontent in the South, or of favor 
towards the old established order of things? 

If you write to Mr. Seward thank him for me for his kind note. 
Every hour of every day I wish for the success of your country. . . . 

John Bright. 

Rochdale, November 20, 1861. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — In my letter of this date, I forgot to men- 
tion one subject which I think of great importance — your Tariff. 
A year ago we paid at New York a duty of 24 per cent on goods, 

1 Proceedings, xlv. Ssn, 


carpets, shipped from Liverpool; now the duty is close upon 50 per 
cent, it is 22^ cents or 11}^ d. per yard on what is sold here at 2 5. 
per yard. The cost of freight, insurance, commission, interest and 
packing, etc., will add to this at least 25 per cent more, so that 
goods of this description are sold in the States burdened with 75 per 
cent of charges over and above those made in the States. The trade 
is therefore all but destroyed. It is the same with many other 
articles. This has done immense harm to the friendly feeling which 
ought to exist here towards you, and it is constantly said, why 
should we prefer North to South? The North closes its markets 
against us, and the South would open its ports to us. I daresay if 
the South were independent it would levy duties and possibly even 
protective duties; but you do it now, and to an extent destructive 
of trade with England. I confess I think a more stupid and un- 
patriotic act was never passed than the Morrill Tariff of a year ago. 
It could not raise a good revenue, because it destroyed half your 
trade; it could not but aggravate the quarrel with the South, and it 
must alienate the good will of England and its great populations; 
for Lancashire, Yorkshire, the pottery district and Birmingham 
were all deeply injured by it. France too surfers considerably from 
the same cause. There is nothing that you can do that would 
more restore sympathy between England and the States than the 
.repeal of the present monstrous and absurd tariff. It gives all the 
speakers and writers for the South an extraordinary advantage in 
this country in their discussion of the American question. 

I add this as a postscript to my other letter; consider it as really 
important, as I truly regard it. . . .* 

John Bright. 

To Joseph Lyman. 
Private. Rochdale, January 13, 1862. 

Dear Sir, — I am much obliged to you for your long and interest- 
ing letter. We have had a great excitement and anxiety on the un- 
fortunate affair of the Trent. 2 I hope now we may hear no more of 
it, and that the discussion it has occasioned may be of use in turning 
opinion here more in favor of the North in your contest with the 
South. The question of the blockade is one of great difficulty and 
some danger. It will be made the ground for some pressure on the 
governments of France and England to induce them to recognize 

1 Sumner wrote on December 23 and 30, and extracts of his letters are in 
Pierce, iv. 57, 58. 

2 The letters from Bright to Sumner on the Trent affair are printed in Pro- 
ceedings, xlv. 148-159. 

igi2.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 101 

the South and to attempt to get rid of the blockade, even, it may be, 
at the cost of war with the United States Government. There is, 
as you doubtless know, no friendly feeling on the part of our ruling 
class towards your democratic government, and no wish to see your 
republic united and powerful as heretofore. I am therefore anxious 
that no pretext should be given by your government for any inter- 
ference from Europe. The more effective the blockade, the more 
difficult will it be for them to interfere. But the most desirable 
thing is that you should, if possible, obtain possession of New 
Orleans and Mobile, so that, as regards those two ports whence the 
great bulk of cotton is shipped, you might raise the blockade, and 
establish your own custom receipts, and permit imports and ex- 
ports freely. New Orleans exports about 2,000,000 of bales, Mobile 
about 800,000, and Charleston and Savannah about 500,000 bales 
each. If you had possession of New Orleans and Mobile then, so 
far as cotton is concerned, there would be no impediment to trade, 
unless the planters in the interior obstinately adhered to the Seces- 
sion cause and refused to sell and ship their produce. Savannah and 
Charleston, I presume, will be more easily occupied; but, if not, 
the main channels of trade in cotton would be opened if New Orleans 
and Mobile were free. 

I am anxious that the North should be able at an early day to 
make it difficult, if not impossible, for England and France, or for 
either of them, to find any decent pretext for interference; for on 
this depends much of the success of your efforts to restore the Union. 

One other thing you may do, if you can prevail upon Maryland, 
Kentucky and Missouri to agree to it — that is to determine on the 
legal emancipation of the Slaves. But these Northern' Slave States 
will require a solemn undertaking that compensation shall be made 
them, if they are to become free States. If this were possible, and 
were done, then you might, as a last weapon, proclaim emancipa- 
tion, and I do not see how either England or France could interfere 
on behalf of the South, without involving themselves in the incon- 
sistency and the infamy of fighting to restore and re-establish 
Slavery where your President and Legislature had abolished it. I 
do not believe either government would dare to make the attempt, 
so horrible and shameful would be the crime in the eyes of the world. 
Your Constitution is opposed to such a course on the part of Con- 
gress, but the Constitution surely cannot be worked against itself, 
and must permit of any temporary departure from it with a view 
to its own preservation. I write this as a spectator of the great 
events which are working out on your Continent, but as one as 
anxious for freedom, and for the preservation and greatness of your 
nation, as if I were a citizen of Boston or Philadelphia. 


When our Parliament meets, about three weeks hence, there will 
be an attempt to urge the Government to unfriendly acts, and I 
fear a majority of the two Houses will evince no real sympathy for 
you, and a section of our Cabinet, I believe, is never to be trusted 
to take a just and moral view of any question in which the tem- 
porary commercial or political interests of this country appear to 
be involved. The course taken by your President and his Cabinet 
has shown great courage and great dignity, and will have a good 
effect here on public opinion. 

You refer to India and the prospect of our receiving cotton from 
thence. The supply is increasing, and the quality is improving; 
what is wanted is chiefly, means of communication with the ports, 
means of irrigation for the land, and a more secure tenure for the 
cultivators, with a moderate assessment to the land tax. 

On all these points progress is being made; but the Government 
moves slowly, and all that India can now do for us will be a very 
partial relief. I can send you the evidence and report of my Com- 
mittee of 1848, and any other Parliament Papers you may wish to 
have, when Parliament meets; but I do not see that you can make 
any use of them in America. The present scarcity and high price 
of cotton will stimulate its cultivation in many parts of the world, 
but I do not think we can for years dispense with the growth of your 
Southern States. 

I had no correspondence with your late friend Mr. Theodore 
Parker, and therefore have no letters from him that I can send you. 
When I saw him in London I did not expect his life would so soon 

With many thanks for your very friendly letter, I am very sin- 
cerely yours, 

John Bright. 

To Charles Sumner. 

Rochdale, February 27, 1862. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — I have to thank you for your several 
letters. We are now in smooth water, but I wish to keep you in- 
formed of the state of opinion here touching your great question, 
for everybody talks and thinks of what is doing in America, and we 
feel as if we were almost as much interested in your conflict as if it 
was raging in a portion of our own country. 

As I told you before would be the case, the settlement of the 
Trent grievance has had a wonderful effect in calming men's minds. 
Before our Parliament met there was much talk of interference 
with the blockade, and much was still said in favor of the South. 

1912.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 103 

All that has passed away. In London all has changed, and it is 
difficult to find a noisy advocate of the secession theory. The press 
has become much more moderate, and the great party that was to 
have driven the Government into hostilities with you is nowhere to 
be found. Even the hot Mr. Gregory, 1 the Southern advocate in 
the House of Commons, is very slow at taking any step in the direc- 
tion of his known sympathies, and has contented himself with a 
notice that at some time not yet fixed, he will call the attention of 
the House to the state of the blockade. 

He waits for the Blue Book or papers which our Foreign Office is 
to lay before Parliament before he can proceed, and I am sanguine 
in the hope that the facts will not justify his proceeding at all. Lord 
Russell too has said the right thing on more than one occasion in 
the House of Lords. There is now no disposition to interfere with 
you, or with the blockade, or to recognize the South, and the whole 
spirit of our Parliament and press and people is changed, and is no 
longer apparently hostile to your Government. I have had long 
conversations with Mr. Adams, and with Mr. Thurlow Weed, and 
with Mr. Cyrus Field of the Atlantic Telegraph, and I find them 
all in good spirits with the news from the States, and with the im- 
proved state of feeling here. In this country, where there is great 
embarrassment owing to the high price of cotton, no one utters a 
word which tends to encourage any hostile sentiment towards your 
Government and generally men are gradually adopting the notion 
that the restoration of the Union is not an impossible thing. 

I observe that you are proposing to spend money in fortifications 
on your Lake frontier. This I think wholly unnecessary, for war 
seems to me remote, and in that quarter your superiority is un- 
doubted, and cannot be questioned by any man of ordinary in- 
formation. If I were in your Congress I should oppose such an ex- 
penditure at this moment when so much is required elsewhere. 
The recent news from your side of the Atlantic leads to the conclu- 
sion that your supremacy over the insurgents is every day being 
more clearly shewn, and altho' military operations are always un- 
certain, I cannot but hope that the time is very near when every 
Southern man will see that the attempt to set up a new State and 
Government must fail. The chief conspirators of course will not 
yield, but the people must lose confidence in them as they are shewn 
to be powerless to resist the North. I have seen Mason under the 
gallery of the House of Commons; but, as you may suppose, I have 
no wish to form an acquaintance with him, and have not spoken to 
him. I hear however that he is speaking with confidence of the 

1 William Henry Gregory, of Galway County. 


success of his friends, and repudiates the idea that the South will 
ever submit, and return into the Union. 

I observe that the slavery question moves very slowly. In Dela- 
ware some attempt is being made to liberate the slave, but in 
Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland, we do not hear of anything 
being done, altho' I should think the " Institution" there has re- 
ceived so rude a shock, that slave property cannot now be much 
worth, and that emancipation with a guaranteed compensation, 
would be a proposition likely to be welcomed by all thoughtful men 
in those States. 

Mr. Cyrus Field told me that an expedition is being quietly 
assembled at Key West, I think, for an attack upon the forts which 
defend New Orleans, between that city and the mouths of the river. 
The occupation of New Orleans would have a great effect in this 
country, and I cannot but think would greatly influence opinion 
throughout the South, for with the ports and the great river in the 
possession of the Government, a mere internal insurrection could 
not possibly maintain itself long. I observe your proposition to 
reduce the insurgent States to Territories, but know not whether 
you are acting on your individual responsibility or in concert with 
the President, or as Chairman of your Foreign Relations Com- 
mittee. It seems to me that even yet, you have many Northern 
men of influence who are unwilling to go on to an attack on slavery, 
or who fear that such a course might divide your forces by weaken- 
ing that unanimity of opinion by means of which only you can hope 
to succeed. Would it not be possible to have confidential friends 
of the Government employed amongst the leading men of the States 
of Missouri, Kentucky and Maryland, and show them what a de- 
liverance it would be for them to make their States free under a 
moderate and guaranteed compensation, and thus to induce them to 
initiate the proceedings which would be acceptable to Government and 
Congress at Washington? It will be a great misfortune for America 
and for the world, if you pay this frightful penalty for your past 
toleration of slavery, as your sufferings thro' this war may be called, 
and yet should in any way terminate the struggle without having 
in some way terminated, if not the existence, the power and per- 
manence of the monster evil. 

I fear to hear of any surrender on the part of the South at present, 
fearing that men would be so glad to have peace, that they would 
admit the Slave States again to their fellowship, and that twenty 
years hence you might find the old disturber still present with you. 
When the white flag is hoisted from the South and when you come 
to negociate, then will be the time of real danger, and it may require 
more statesmanship to make peace, and more firmness, than it has 

1912.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 105 

required to carry on this gigantic war. But I will have faith. I 
believe a higher power than that of President and Congress watches 
over the interests of mankind in these great passages of the history 
of our race, and I will trust that in this supreme hour of your coun- 
try's being, it will not fail you. 

I shall be glad to have a line from you at any time to tell me what 
is being meditated or done whether as respects the slave question 
or the operations of your forces by land or sea. I hope we shall get 
something out of the Trent business in favor of a wiser international 
maritime code. The subject comes on in the House of Commons 
on the nth March. Mr. Cobden will speak upon it at length and 
with great effect I doubt not. 

With all good wishes for you, and for your Government and 

John Bright. 

Rochdale, July 12, 1862. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — I have not written to you for many weeks, 
nor have I had any letter from you since the termination of our 
anxieties in connexion with the Trent business. I write now to tell 
you what we are thinking about you. Generally there is an agree- 
ment among the public that intervention is impossible, and that 
mediation cannot be offered in the present position of your contest, 
and after the unpleasant feelings which have been excited on both 
sides of the Atlantic. Some attempts have been made to excite our 
working population on the question, but with very little success 
hitherto. The last news from your side has created regret among 
your friends and pleasure among your enemies. I am grieved at it, 
altho' I have never felt very confident that your success at Rich- 
mond was certain; for at that point it was clear that failure to the 
insurgents must be fatal to their cause. We are waiting with great 
anxiety for further news from your camp, the latest advices having 
been confused, but still indicating a disaster to your forces. There 
is an impression here that your generals have not acted with much 
harmony, and people think General Pope will do something to im- 
prove your position. 

General Butler in New Orleans has ruled with the strong arm, 
and some of his acts have caused unfriendly criticism here. I can- 
not advise that your policy should be governed by English opinion, 
but I always wish that everything you do should admit of a fair 

I met recently a New Orleans merchant of wealth and good 
position, not a secessionist. He spoke of the slavery question, and 
feared your Government was proceeding too fast, if it was thought 



to conciliate any Southern opinion. He said the thing the South 
had to fear in connexion with slavery was that now the rivers are 
mostly open to your gunboats, you should seize on some large planta- 
tion, and divide it into lots of ten acres each, and settle on each of 
these a negro family, furnishing some of them with arms and ex- 
pecting them to defend their new possessions if menaced by their 
former owners. Such a step, he thought, would create a new life 
among the negroes; the news of it would run from plantation to 
plantation, and all your negro nation would take sides with the 
U. S. Government. It seems to me that hitherto you have gained 
nothing from any danger which the South might reasonably enter- 
tain from their slaves, and this I suppose has arisen from the diffi- 
culty of taking any strong course whilst your Border States still 
cling to their evil Institution. To restore the Union, whilst pre- 
serving slavery, may be difficult, if not impossible; to preserve 
unity and harmonious action in the North and in the Border States, 
whilst assailing slavery more resolutely, may be equally difficult 
or impossible. I should be sorely puzzled how to act if I were one 
of you; but the time must come, I suspect, when some more definite 
course must be taken. 

The Charleston business is bad. Nothing should have been 
attempted there till success was certain; but generals often seek 
renown at the sacrifice of prudence — and this is probably a case in 
point. 1 

We have very wet weather, not a really sunny and hot day for 
many weeks, and our harvest prospects are unfavorable. We shall 
want large supplies of grain and flour from you, which will tend to 
keep the peace I hope. 

If you can write me a good letter, telling me something of the 
future, I shall receive it with great pleasure. I do not lose faith in 
your cause — but I wish I had less reason to feel anxious about 
you. . . . 

John Bright. 

Rochdale, July 14, 1862. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — I wrote you a few lines by the boat of 
Saturday. My object in writing so soon again is to say something 
on cotton. 

You have possession of New Orleans, but no cotton comes. It 
has been said that this arises from the hostility of the planters to 
reopen trade, and from their wish to influence England by keeping 
back their cotton. I hear that " Mason," your predecessor in office, 

1 Rhodes, iv. 244. 

I9I2.J BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 107 

tells a different story, and says that cotton cannot come because 
no trade is permitted except to loyal planters and owners; that not 
the advocates of the Southern cause, but the regulations of the 
North and of General Butler, are preventing any shipments of 
cotton. Now I wish to tell you that I think it of great importance 
that some cotton should come. If 100,000 bales or 200,000 could 
come, it would greatly alter opinion here with many people. There 
is a growing difficulty here as you may suppose, and I am sure your 
true interests would gain much by allowing some cotton to come, 
altho' the proceeds of it found its way into the pockets of some 
friends of Jeff. Davis. The English press, or rather the London 
press, are still predicting your failure. The Times says your great 
financial crash is to come in two months from this, the Post thinks 
it not unlikely that your great army will have to surrender; and 
these organs create an opinion that you cannot overcome the in- 
surrection; and it is this feeling only, — that you are engaged in a 
war for an unattainable object, — that withdraws so much sym- 
pathy from you, and destroys faith in you. 

With opinion thus adversely influenced, there is, of course, more 
room for working mischief, and for schemes, of mediation or in- 

Mr. Ben Wood's unspoken speech, and his brother, Fernando 
Wood's democratic meeting in New York, are made much of in the 
London newspapers; and if our Prime Minister dare go wrong, and 
thinks it will serve his purpose, no scruples will restrain him. I am 
sure some of his colleagues are against any step hostile to you, and 
so long as victory seemed permanently located on your standards, 
all schemes of mediation or interference were permitted to slumber. 
If, now, you should meet with some disaster and much delay, there 
would arise a different temper, and evil might follow. I am anxious 
therefore that you should, even at some sacrifice, encourage some 
shipments of cotton, and that your New Orleans General should 
not be allowed to make mischief between your Government and 
ours by squabbles between him and our Consul. News by the boat 
just in is almost nil; we wait for next accounts with a painful in- 
terest. Nothing in public affairs has ever before made me so anxious 
as your great conflict. I wish it to end well, but I am not anxious 
about its ending suddenly; for the fate of your "black nation" 
must now be decided, and I cannot think that God has permitted 
this fearful war to be waged without a plan for the redemption of 
the four millions of his creatures whose wrongs and sorrows have 
hitherto appealed to man in vain. 

Whilst I write much may be decided, and what I say may be of 
no use, I write it as you know in good faith and with the most 


earnest hopes and wishes for your good. If you can tell me any- 
thing good, or anything which may help me to do anything here 
for your cause, don't fail to write to me. . . . 

John Bright. 1 

Llandudno, North Wales, October 10, 1862. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — I was very glad to receive your last letter 
containing much interesting information on the cotton question. 
I sent it and the letters, or copies of letters it contained to Mr. 
Cobden. It is quite clear that your Government was right in 
not sending an expedition to Texas, when it was a question whether 
it could keep a footing in Virginia. 

I write to you from a feeling of anxiety. You will see what is 
being said here by public men who speak on your question, and 
most of all, and worst of all, by your old acquaintance and friend, 
Mr. Gladstone. He has made a vile speech at Newcastle, full of 
insulting pity for the North, and of praise and support for the South. 
He is unstable as water in some things. He is for union and freedom 
in Italy, and for disunion and bondage in America. A handful of 
Italians in prison in Naples, without formal trial, shocked his soul 
so much that he wrote a pamphlet, and has made many speeches 
upon it; but he has no word of sympathy or of hope for the four 
millions of the bondsmen of the South! I have known for months 
past that he talked of an European remonstrance, or mediation, or 
recognition, or some mischief of that kind, but I did not expect 
that he would step out openly as the defender and eulogist of Jeff. 
Davis and his fellow conspirators against God and man. He has 
spoken, as you will see by the time you receive this, and what he 
has said will encourage the friends of the South here to encreased 
exertions to promote something hostile to your Government and 
people. Palmerston and Russell, I fear, will not need much pres- 
sure to induce them to do anything they dare do on behalf of the 
permanent disruption of your Union. 

Now, if I may trouble you again, I want you to write fully and 
frankly to me, that I may know what is possible and what is likely. 
If the "proclamation" 2 means anything it means that you will 
preserve the Union, even tho' it involve a social revolution in the 
South and the transformation of four millions of slaves into as many 
laborers and peasants. If you destroy the armed force of the South, 
still you will have a population deeply exasperated and disloyal, 
and government in their States must be difficult if not impossible. 

1 See Pierce, rv. 82. 

2 Emancipation Proclamation, September 23. Pierce, iv. 106. 

I gi 2.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872 IO9 

If the black nation can be made a population for the Union, then to 
hold the South may not be impossible; but without them, I see 
immeasurable difficulties in your path. Is the North prepared for 
all the hazards, and for all the confusion which for a time such a 
course may render inevitable; and will the Government be thor- 
oughly supported by all the free States in such a policy? I con- 
clude from the fact that the New York Herald has not dared to 
condemn the proclamation, that it meets with the support of your 
people. If the border States should not take fright at it, it seems 
to me calculated to be a powerful lever in future operations against 
the revolt. On these points we have, as yet, scarcely received any 
information, and I look for further tidings with great anxiety. 

As to the war, I suppose in another month the rivers will be in 
condition for navigation and that you will have a double power of 
gun-boats and "plated" ships as compared with your navy of a 
year ago. With these Charleston, Savannah, Mobile and Vicksburg 
can hardly be retained by the South, and if they are taken, all 
chance of receiving arms and other supplies from Europe will be 
cut off. Then, your new levies will form armies, I suppose much 
more numerous than those of the South, and the conspirators will 
find it difficult to keep any overwhelming or very large force in a 
country bared and desolated as Virginia must now be. The season 
too is favorable for any movement either by land or sea. 

In addition to this you may have black regiments at Beaufort, 
New Orleans, and on the Mississippi, if you are resolved to use all 
the weapons in your power; and along the rivers where your gun- 
boats penetrate you may shake loose all the negro population from 
their owners and then destroy the whole basis of labor on which 
the Southern forces rest, and destroy at the same time the "corner- 
stone" on which their infamous State was to be established. All 
this is terrible to think of, but not so terrible as the thought of the 
four millions and their posterity, condemned to a perpetual bondage, 
should the efforts of the North fail to deliver them. 

I talk with men daily, and try to influence opinion in favor of 
the right; and before long I may have to speak in public on its 
behalf. I want you to tell me, if you can, what I may hope for, and 
what I may believe, that I may have my faith corrected or strength- 
ened. Will the North persist? Will it grapple with the slavery 
devil and strangle it? May I believe that your country will be held 

I begin to believe that another crop of cotton from slave labor will 
never again be grown on your Northern continent. Terribly as this 
would make me and mine and multitudes here to suffer, I cannot 
wish it otherwise. 


I am here with my family, where you visited us, but expect to be 
at home about the end of the month; therefore please to address me 
Rochdale as before. I shall be grateful to you for some reply to this, 
for I am very anxious for tidings to sustain my faith. . . . 

John Bright. 

Surely that childish project of removing the black people from 
America will cease to be talked about. It damages the character of 
your President and Government. 

Private. Rochdale, December 6, 1862. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — I have received your letters with much 
pleasure. To one part of them I wish particularly to reply. You 
think England is becoming more and more hostile to you, 1 and this 
I am not surprised at when I consider some things done and said 
here, and the shape they must take when seen from your point of 
view. Yet I can say, I think positively, that England is not more 
hostile; in fact my opinion is that there is much less of open and 
expressed hostility than there was some time ago. It is true that in 
Liverpool there is a "Southern Club" and that the Alabama was 
built in and sailed from the Mersey. But our Government admits 
the violation of international law, and of its own "Foreign Enlist- 
ment Act" in the fitting out of that ship, for it actually issued an 
order for her arrest, which was evaded by the vessel's being, as it 
were, smuggled out to sea before she was ready, and before she was 
expected to go. I wrote a strong letter to a friend of mine in the 
Government, and he replied that Lord Russell was most anxious 
strictly to enforce the law. I suspect that what you hear of other 
ships building here for war purposes is much exaggerated. The acts 
of the captain of the pirate vessel on the high seas have not been 
of any advantage to the South so far as they have influenced public 
opinion here. 

The anti-slavery sentiment here has been more called forth of 
late, especially since the Proclamation was issued, and I am con- 
fident that every day the supporters of the South among us find 
themselves in greater difficulty owing to the course taken by your 
Government in reference to the negro question. 

Then there is the French mediation proposition, which, utterly 
silly as it was, might have led to great mischief, if our Government 
had been prevailed upon to endorse it. I can assure you that the 
refusal of Lord Russell to unite with France in that matter has been 
cordially approved throughout the country, and even by those who, 
like Mr. Gladstone, believe your undertaking hopeless, and many 

1 Pierce, rv. 108. 

191 2.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. Ill 

of whom doubtless wish that you may ultimately fail in your efforts 
to restore the Union. 

Judging from the tone of our press, and from all I can hear, I 
think England is not more but is, really, less hostile than she was 
some time ago, and the more you seem likely to succeed, the more 
will your friends and moderate men show themselves, and your 
enemies be driven into obscurity. To me it seems that mediation 
or intervention is less likely and less possible than ever, and that 
recognition will be a thing not even talked about by any sane man, 
if you once obtain possession of your Atlantic and Gulf ports. 

I have always spoken of this as the one thing needful to shut out 
all idea of European meddling; for with the ports in your possession, 
the struggle becomes a mere internal temporary confusion and in- 
surrection, and all pretence of recognition, or of mediation on the 
basis of separation, is done away with. 

Looking on from here, I can almost imagine that your wisest 
policy might have been to keep a sufficient force to guard Mary- 
land and Pennsylvania from attack, and to have made the seizure 
of all the ports your great and first object. This done and the great 
river cleared, and your gunboats traversing all your rivers, the 
Southern army in Virginia would have had difficulty in sustaining 
itself, and would have been more easily dealt with afterwards. 

With regard to your elections, I am not much surprised at what 
has happened, for there must always be dissatisfaction with a want 
of success, and old party names have great influence, and your 
party is rather too moral, on the whole, for the States wherein are to 
be found the great cities. New York State, without the city of New 
York, is for you; but the city itself is against you, and turned the 
scale of the whole State in favor of your opponents. I think now 
the result of your elections has not much influence on opinion here, 
and people come to the conclusion that the war will go on till some- 
thing like exhaustion takes place, and then that something will be 
patched up, and that in the meantime slavery will have received a 
severe, if not a mortal blow. 

The Proclamation, like everything else you have done, has been 
misrepresented, but it has had a large effect here, and men are 
looking with great interest to the 1st January, and hoping that the 
President may be firm. I agree with you entirely as to the absolute 
necessity of dealing with slavery if you are to succeed in the struggle, 
and to have peace in future; for the battle is not worth the winning, 
unless it gives you that future solidity of peace and order which is 
impossible while slavery remains as a political and aggressive power 
among you. 

I am surprised that any of your statesmen should doubt this, and 


most of all, as I have heard from various sources in the case, that 
Mr. Seward should doubt; for he is the author of the phrase "irre- 
pressible conflict," and yet in this inevitable contest he is said to 
doubt the necessity of grappling with a mortal resolution the foe 
which seeks to destroy everything he holds dear! 

I see what the Tribune says about negociations between the 
Democratic leaders in the North, and the leaders of Secesh. Can 
there be any truth in this? Surely if anything of the kind should 
be proved, your Government will know how to deal with treason 
of this nature. Such a negociation can only mean the selling of the 
free North to the vile principles and policy of the South. 

I see too that Lee, the Southern General, is said to have pro- 
tested against the Proclamation! Doubtless it is an unpleasant 
measure to him and his employers, but not on that account the less 
to be adhered to by the North. If the President be firm, I suspect 
your great work will go on fast, and the weakness of Slavedom will 
become more apparent every day. 

If I were in the place of your Government, I would have a body 
of negro troops drilled and armed at the chief points on the great 
river, and at New Orleans, Pensacola, and Beaufort, and whereso- 
ever you obtain a solid footing. A force of 10,000 men at each of 
these points would do everything for you, and would give such 
hope to the negroes throughout the South that all idea of a servile 
war would vanish, and you would secure, in the midst of the con- 
spiracy, one half of the population entirely in your interest. 

This country is passing thro' a wonderful crisis, but our people 
will be kept alive by the contributions of the country. I see that 
some one in the States has proposed to send something to our aid. 
If a few cargoes of flour could come, say 50,000 barrels, as a gift 
from persons in your Northern States to the Lancashire working- 
men, it would have a prodigious effect in your favour here. Our 
working-class is with you and against the South; but such a token 
of your good will would cover with confusion all those who talk 
against you. I wish Mr. Peabody's gift had been in this shape; it 
would have served a great end in favor of present good feeling and 
future peace between the two countries. 

It is not unlikely that I may have to speak before long to my 
constituents at Birmingham, but nothing is yet fixed in regard to 
it. If you can tell me anything, I think your writing to me will 
not be in vain. I speak to many persons on American affairs and 
influence some. I can imagine something of your anxieties at Wash- 
ington, and wish your Government and people may have wisdom and 
firmness in this great crisis of your history. . . . 

John Bright. 

1912.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 113 

Rochdale, January 30, 1863. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — I write you a hasty note in consequence of 
the renewed attempt of the Emperor of the French to bring about 
some negociation with the South. I cannot find out whether our 
Government has anything to do with the matter or not. I think 
it has not, and I have recently seen a friend of mine who ought to 

I wish you to tell me in what way this proposition is received by 
your Government and your people, and what is thought of the 
Emperor's letter to one of his generals in which he partly justifies 
his invasion of Mexico as a means of preventing that Country from 
falling into the hands of the United States. I suspect this letter 
will not make peace counsels more acceptable with you. There is 
so much talk of armistice, and negociation, and peace, that we are 
sorely puzzled what to look for — and I am very anxious on public 
and private grounds to have some information as to the probable 

If you can spare me half an hour, just write me what is likely or 

You will see what meetings are being held here in favor of your 
emancipation policy, and of the North in general. 1 I think in every 
town in the Kingdom a public meeting would go by an overwhelm- 
ing majority in favor of President Lincoln and of the North. I hope 
what is doing may have an effect on our Cabinet and on the Parlia- 
ment which meets on Thursday next the 5 th February. I am 
grieved to see the animosities and divisions among your political 
parties in the North. It is a bad sign, and must tend to weaken the 
Government and to give spirit and hope to the insurrection. 

Jeff. Davis's recent speeches do not give me the idea that he is 
very confident. He is furious and abusive in his language, and 
speaks like a man with a losing cause. 

The Galveston affair is discreditable to somebody, and it sur- 
prises me that, altho' you have so many armies in the field, the 
insurgents seem always to meet them with an almost equal force. 
Their whole white population must surely be drafted off to the war. 

It seems to me very important to keep Tennessee, and to clear 
the great river by possessing Vicksburg and Port Hudson, and I 
dare say all is being done that can be done. It is sad to feel an in- 
terest in operations so destructive of life and so terrible in every 
way. I am going to Liverpool tomorrow to see Mr. Dudley, the 
U. S. Consul, to get some facts about the Alabama, about which we 
shall have some talk in the House very soon. 

1 Rhodes, iv. 350 et seq. 


Excuse my troubling you. I received your last letters with much 

With best wishes for you and your great cause. . . . 

John Bright. 

Our Southern newspapers are surprised and puzzled at the ex- 
pression of opinion in favor of the North. 

P. S. Is it possible that Slidell & Co. have got the Emperor to 
urge some negociation for peace to let the South down easily? In 
their extremity this may be the case. 

I am led to ask this because I am unable in any other way to ex- 
plain the course of the Emperor. Either this or his morbid craving 
to be doing something to "distinguish himself" may account for 
what he is doing. 

January 31, 1863. 

Rochdale, April 4, 1863. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — Mr. Cobden sent me your last letter 
to him. 1 I am very uneasy at the irritation which arises from the 
building of the pirate ships in this Country. 

Some meetings will be held to condemn the conduct of the builders, 
and of the Government, but the House of Commons is not disposed 
to say anything in the matter. 

The Government is supported nearly as much by the Tory party 
as by the Liberals, and there is little chance at present of any change. 
Palmerston, I am convinced, is no friend of your country, and his,, 
cold or hostile neutrality is well liked by the great aristocratic party 
and class of which he is the chief. Lord Russell speaks fairly, but 
he is feeble, and no reliance is to be placed on our Foreign Office. 

I can only hope that your progress will be so evident between 
now and June, as to show the utter uselessness of any efforts here 
to help the conspiracy. 

If you can get possession of your great river, opinion here will 
act strongly in your favor; and if you take Charleston, of which I 
have doubts, you will put an end to the business of the blockade- 
runners, and liberate some of your navy. All depends on your 
success in your military operations, for your success will ruin all 
chances of the South in this country. Even now the loan is at a 
discount, and I shall not be surprised to see it become almost un- 
saleable. The public are not in its favor, and every day I look for 
it becoming less and less liked. 

The debate on the Alabama was badly managed and told against 
us. It should only have taken place after careful preparation. I 

1 Pierce, iv. 129. 

1912.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 115 

had not made any arrangement for it and spoke only that I might 
not leave our friend Forster without any support. The speeches of 
the Solicitor General and Palmerston were untrue and altogether 
bad in tone. You will see a report of a meeting of the Trades 
Unionists of London at which I presided. It was a great meeting 
and means much; for those present were the choice men of the 
London workmen and artisan class. I endeavored in my speech to 
widen your great question and to show its transcendent importance 
to labor all over the world. The speeches of the workmen were 
logical and good, and I am sure the effect of the meeting must be 
great. 1 

We are waiting, with anxiety, for news from Vicksburg. You 
know much now that we wish to know. I can only hope the news 
when it comes, may be such as we wish. Some people think they 
discern signs of the collapse of the conspiracy, but I think the 
slavery question is hardly sufficiently advanced to permit the war 
to close. I am surprised and alarmed at a recent article in the 
Tribune, saying that if the insurgent States were now to lay down 
their arms, there is no power in the Proclamation or in the Govern- 
ment to save the negroes in those States from continued bondage. 

It is assumed that each State will still retain its power to continue 
slavery, and that the Proclamation will be forgotten, and have no 
force. But surely, if a black man is now a citizen of your country, 
and if the negro is freed by the Proclamation, it cannot be in the 
power of any State to make slaves, within the limits of your free 
nation, of men once free. Can any State make slaves of white men? 
If not, then why of black men? The Tribune seems to me to be 
backing out of its principles, and out of all the arguments on which 
it asked for the Proclamation. If, after all, slavery is to be sacred 
in the South, why carry on the war and why hope for the Union, to 
be again the great security of Slavery? 

I hope the President will remain firm against the letters of marque, 
so long as peace is preserved. They will do no good and only tend 
to war. I was sorry your fight against the bill was in vain. . . . 

John Bright. 

Rochdale, April 24, 1863. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — There seems mischief brewing between 
your Government and ours. 

You are justly irritated about the " pirate" ships, and efforts are 
made here to create anger about the seizure of vessels from England 
to Matamoras. The fact, too, of Commodore Wilkes being active 

1 Rhodes, rv. 353. The meeting was held March 26. 


in these seizures, is made a ground for special suspicion that inter- 
national law is purposely disregarded on your side. 1 

I hope the course taken by our Government in respect to the ship 
Alexandra now in Liverpool, will do something to calm the feelings 
of your people. So far as I can learn our Government is in earnest 
in the prosecution begun against the persons concerned in the 
building and equipment of this ship, and I believe they will act at 
once in any other case where evidence can be obtained. As regards 
the Peterhof, I do not doubt that your Courts will hear fairly and 
decide without bias. One of her owners has told me that she was 
honestly bound for Matamoras, and that she was not legally liable 
to seizure. Irritation is inevitable from the legal and necessary 
conduct of your war vessels, but the greatest care should be taken 
to use their powers, even their legal powers, with the greatest modera- 
tion. Whether a ship more or less breaks the blockade is of no real 
importance to you or to us; but whether you should be interfered 
with in your efforts to suppress the Southern insurrection by a war 
with England, is of an importance to you and us that words cannot 

With the jealousy which exists here with regard to all you do and 
with the evident wish to damage you on the part of a powerful 
party here, I can only hope that your Government will keep strictly 
within known and acknowledged law, and thus baffle its enemies 
whether at home or abroad. 

> Mr. Roebuck is of small importance here. His vanity is so over- 
powering that anything which gives him notoriety seems to his 
mind of more value than the peace of the world. To Russia — to 
France — to the United States he is, in turn, equally offensive; but 
he does not represent England, or any considerable number of Eng- 
lishmen, and therefore his language may be passed by as that of a 
man not governed by reason or conscience. Mr. Cobden will speak 
this evening in the House, and I am not without hope that the dis- 
cussion may be useful. I am prevented being present owing to a 
domestic event which yesterday added to my already numerous 

1 The Peterhof. See Diplomatic Correspondence, 1863, 178. Wilkes was re- 
ported to have "publicly threatened to capture a British mail packet, bound for 
a British port, on the sole ground of her carrying to that port officers, or other 
passengers, belonging to the so-called Confederate States." Secretary Welles 
wrote to Wilkes, trusting there had been some misapprehension on the subject, 
or if he had so threatened, that he would "take no steps towards carrying it out, 
or which would lead to an unpleasant discussion between the Government of 
the United States and that of Great Britain." Wilkes denied that he had made any 
such threat. lb. 465, 467, 502. 

1912.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 117 

The news from your side gives me some anxiety. Our last tid- 
ings from Charleston tell us that the first attack has not been suc- 
cessful — perhaps the next report may be better. What a terrible 
evil the pride and passion of that small city have been in your 
country! And what a penalty it has paid and is paying for its 
crimes ! 

Mr. Adams is much assailed here, but I cannot understand the 
ground of it. Lord Russell does not, I think, mean ill, but he is not 
strong enough for difficult times. . . . 

John Bright. 

Private. London, May 2, 1863. 1 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — I have your several letters, and have read 
them with a deep interest. I see all the danger to which you point, 
but which to our people is not so apparent as to yours. 

Here the Southern advocates are a considerable party, noisy and 
active, and they are in possession of a large portion of the London 
press. The people too are not informed on the legal difference be- 
tween selling arms and equipping war ships, and as they know that 
great quantities of arms have been sold to the North, they argue 
that it must be equally lawful to sell arms or ships to the South. 
And Mr. Seward and Mr. Adams have lent some support to this 
view in complaining of the sale of arms to the Conspiracy as if it 
were an offense in magnitude equal to that of furnishing ships of 
war. Since the South were admitted as belligerents, in respect of 
the sale of arms, you have been treated as two nations equal in the 
sight of our Government, and one as much in their favor as the 

You have imagined that our sympathy with the U. S. Govern- 
ment should have given it an advantage in this matter over the 
concern at Richmond; but it has not been so. The love of gain, 
and the sympathy for the South openly expressed by our papers, 
and almost universally felt by our richer classes, have entirely pre- 
vented this. But with regard to ships, we have an express enact- 
ment, and that has clearly been broken; but our people confound 
the two things, and therefore with us, generally, there has not 
been so much sense of danger as with you. Here, there has been 
attempted to be made a grievance out of the seizure of the 
Peterkof, and the opening of letter bags; but two days ago our 
Government learned that the bags were to be forwarded to their 
destination unopened. 

I am told that the decisions of our judges in past times would 

1 May 6 in copy left at Rochdale. 


have justified you in opening the mails; but it is far wiser for you 
to keep within the powers formerly insisted on by this country, and 
to maintain your character as a nation disposed to a lenient inter- 
pretation of the laws touching belligerent rights. 

With regard to the ships, I believe Lord Russell is really sorry 
that the case of the Alabama occurred, and* that he is now anxious 
to prevent further mischief. The debate to which you refer was 
unfortunate, and the speeches of Palmerston and Palmer were 
wicked. I am satisfied that they were opposed in tone to the Foreign 
Minister's intention, and I have reason to believe that he was dis- 
satisfied and has remonstrated against it. The subsequent debate 
on Friday last was a different affair, and the Prime Minister and his 
Solicitor General were as mild and decent as we could wish them to 
be. I hear too from the best sources, that no more ships will be 
allowed to go out, if any fair ground can be shown for interfering 
with them. The speech of Mr. Cobden was excellent last Friday, 
and opinion this week is moderate, and without excitement. This 
bad old man, who for our many sins is permitted to rule over us, is a 
demagogue of the very worst order. He gives in to the passion of 
the hour, and to gain the applause of the least conscientious and 
moral of the people, he bears himself insolently to almost every 
nation by turns. I once described him as the "Feargus O'Connor" 
of the middle classes, said Feargus being some twenty years ago the 
great mischief-maker among our working-classes, and a man wholly 
without principle or honour. 

I hope when you hear of the change here, you will experience a 
like change with you. If your Government will go on with a calm 
and dignified moderation, I think there is a power here to prevent 
any wanton mischief on this side, and our Foreign Minister, not- 
withstanding those dispatches to which you refer, and which, to 
my mind, are a mixture of feebleness and spite, does not really in- 
tend evil, and would not, I think, regret to see your forces trium- 
phant, and your Union restored. One of our Bishops, some years 
ago, sitting next to me at dinner, and pointing to Lord Russell on 
the opposite side of the table remarked, "that is the smallest great 
man that I have known;" and there is much in this, for with many 
good sentiments, and with so much of good sympathies as is possible 
with so cold a nature, there is about him a certain feebleness and 
changeableness which are remarkable. He writes petty and irritat- 
ing dispatches to Lord Lyons or Mr. Seward, whether from some 
temporary infirmity of temper, or from a wish to seem to go with 
the prevailing opinion of his order, I am not able to decide. But 
there is good in him and I am not sure that if we change him we shall 
get a better man in his place. 

igi2.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 1 19 

With regard to the resolution, a copy of which you sent me, I 
approve entirely of it, and indeed I think the effect of nearly every 
meeting held here has been in accordance with it. But really there 
is no voice raised now in favor of recognition or intervention in any 
shape and the danger is not such as to require any special action 
to guard against it. I believe so long as the war continues our 
Government will remain spectators of the conflict. Lord Russell is 
not in favor of war in partnership with Louis Napoleon; he with- 
drew from it in Mexico, and refuses to go into it, or to run even a 
risk of it, with Russia, in the case of Poland, and I believe he will 
steadfastly oppose any scheme of interfering with you. Your fate 
seems to depend on yourselves, on your armies and fleets, and on 
the pressure under which the conspirators are suffering. Mr. Cobden 
and I discuss your affairs incessantly and with an interest as com- 
plete as if we were members of your Senate. I am going this evening 
with the Trades Unionists' deputation to present their address to 
the President to your Minister here. Thank you for your letters. . . . 

John Bright. 

London, May 15, 1863. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — The son of a widow living at Birmingham 
which Town I represent in Parliament, finds himself in trouble at 
San Francisco. His family wish me to do what I can in his favor; 
he may be only a foolish young man who has thoughtlessly and 
ignorantly brought himself into trouble. 1 

I write to his family to say that hanging is not much the custom 
of your Government, and that I will write to an influential person 
in America who may perhaps be able to save him from any severe 
punishment. Is it too much for me to ask you to procure his libera- 
tion on condition that he shall at once return to England? I think 
your Government might do this for him without harm to anybody, 
and I shall feel grateful to them if they can set him free. I enclose 
a letter from his brother which will inform you of the case more 
particularly. In bringing this matter before you, I assume that 
there is no special guilt in the young man's conduct. 

1 "Alfred Rubery from the evidence is one of the principals in the Chapman 
affair. Correspondence with sympathizers in victory was conducted by him. 
He is in confinement at Alcatraz Island. The case is in the hands of the U. S. 
district attorney. No facts have been elicited showing him to be an object of 
Executive clemency. The feeling here is strong against all such actions." Brig- 
adier General George Wright to Secretary Stanton, June 1, 1863. The schooner 
J. M. Chapman was seized in San Francisco harbor March 15, suspected of being 
intended to prey upon the commerce of the Pacific coast. Official War Records, 
Series I, l. vol. I. Part ii, 357, 449; Series II, v. 726. 


Pray excuse me for giving you the trouble to interfere on his 

Everything here is very quiet as to American affairs. There has 
been much mischief done; I only hope we may see no more of it. 
We are very anxious as to what has before this taken place in Vir- 
ginia, and hope that present boldness may be more successful than 
past caution and timidity have been. Along the course of the great 
river, events seem much more favorable, and I hope they may con- 
tinue so. I hear from the best authority that our Foreign Minister 
is "going better" in regard to your struggle, and one of his colleagues 
is expressing a strong opinion that your cause is making a decided 
progress. Many thanks to you for the copy of your Debates. . . . 

John Bright. 

Rochdale, June 14, 1863. . 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — You will have seen in our papers, or in 
yours, that an anti-slavery conference of ministers of religion was 
held in Manchester on the 3d of June, and that an address to Min- 
isters of all Christian Denominations in the United States was then 
adopted. I believe this address has been signed by more than 4000 
ministers. It was determined that the Address should be conveyed 
to America by a deputation appointed by the conference, and Dr. 
Massie 1 and Mr. J. H. Rylance were chosen to proceed to the 
United States on this honorable service. Dr. Massie has long been 
a minister in the Congregational and Independent Church, and Mr. 
Rylance is a minister in the Established Church of St. Paul's, West- 
minster. Mr. Rylance sailed on the City of New York on the 10th of 
this month, and Dr. Massie is expected to sail in the City of Balti- 
more on the 17th inst. 

These gentlemen wished to take with them some letters of intro- 
duction and I give them this to you being assured that their mis- 
sion will give you great pleasure, and believing that it will tend to 
strengthen a most holy cause, with which, thro' all time, your name 
will be inseparably connected. I hope their visit will not only be of 
service in the cause of freedom, but also in the cause of peace. . . . 

John Bright. 

London, June 27, 1863. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — I am indebted to you for your care in the 
case of the young Englishman about whom I wrote to you. His 
family have not heard from him for six weeks past, and suppose 

1 James William Massie (1 799-1869). See Diet, of National Biography, 
xxxvn. 7. 

1912.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 121 

that his letters are not forwarded. I hope that he may be treated 
with some leniency, seeing how little severity has been shown to 
the many " traitors" with whom your Government has had to deal, 
and I can hardly suppose that any public interest can suffer from 
sending him off to England. He must be wonderfully stupid to 
have engaged in any conspiracy, and yet I hear that he is sharp 
and clever, and was educated at the London University. He seems 
to be intimate with a family of the name of Parker, of Katonah, 
Chester County, New York, as a Miss Emily J. Parker has written 
to me about him, evidently strongly interested in his fate. If op- 
portunity offers I will thank you to keep a little watch over the 

This morning we have the news of another invasion of Maryland 
and Pennsylvania, and know not to what it may lead. It causes 
me great anxiety. Roebuck brings on a motion on Tuesday, the 
30th for the "recognition" of the South. I had hoped that before 
that day news might have reached us of the fall of Vicksburg, in 
which case, I believe, the proposition would not have been made. 

Now it will be made and discussed, and there are some men in 
the House whose voice will be very unfriendly to your country. 
The Government are opposed to the motion, and doubtless will 
oppose it, but there is no reliance to be placed on Palmerston. He 
may speak apparently in opposition to it, and yet in a manner un- 
just and injurious to the North. Just now, however, he is ill from 
gout, and has not been out, I think, since Tuesday. Possibly he 
may not be in the House on Tuesday next; and if so, the debate will 
probably be postponed. The bad news, or the appearance of it 
this morning, will tend to stimulate the friends of the South here. 

The Alexandra case has failed, owing chiefly to the ruling of the 
Judge. 1 He is about 80 years old, and should have retired ten years 
ago. Many think his ruling will be overruled when the case is again 
argued. If not, the Foreign Enlistment Act is of no value to pre- 
vent any amount of naval assistance being given to the South. 

I am to dine this evening with Mr. Adams to meet Mr. Evarts 
and others. 2 I am disappointed that we shall have nothing to con- 
gratulate each other upon. The impression here is that your Gov- 
ernment is incapable, that it lacks two essential qualities, foresight 
and force. 

With such vast operations, you need a large reserve force to meet 
accidents. Wherever you turn, you are met with an equal force to 

1 Sir Frederick Pollock. 

2 "We had a small company to dinner, consisting of Mr. Evarts, Mr. Girard, 
Mr. Bright and Sir George Young. Much to my amusement they sat until nearly 
midnight at table." Charles Francis Adams, MS. Diary. 



that you have, and till this is changed any great success seems im- 
probable. It is thought here that Hooker is inferior in force to Lee, 
and this may lead to desperate reverses. I can only hope that your 
faith and mine in the final issue may be well founded, but I some- 
times ask myself whether the crime against the African will not 
entail a penalty far greater than we have calculated upon. 

Mr. Conway l has made a great blunder here. He did not advise 
with me. Had I known his lack of judgment and of his foolish 
correspondence, I should not have presided at the meeting at which 
he spoke. I hear that his fault arose from conversation with some 
literary men — Tennyson and Browning, and I am not sure if Mr. 
Hughes and Bishop Colenso were not of the party. They thought 
it would be a great thing to get an admission from Mason that, 
even for independence itself, the South would not give up slavery. 
So, Mr. Conway, like a child, writes to Mason offering separation 
for abolition! It has done no harm here, but I fear it will do harm 
with you, in allowing the Herald and such as he, to attack the Aboli- 
tion party as anxious to sell the country for abolition. Mr. Conway 
is willing to be a sacrifice to his own folly, and is very sorry for the 
mistake he has made. I am very sorry too, for it has caused him 
much suffering. Miss Martineau has been greatly excited about 
it, and so has Richard D. Webb of Dublin. I have tried to calm 
things, and to show that an individual blunder will not much affect 
the great cause. 

Among the Americans here, friends of the North, there is great 
want of confidence in your Cabinet at Washington, and I cannot 
but feel that great losses of men, and means, and long delays, and 
apparent mismanagement, must have the effect of creating a dis- 
gust with the war or a disgust with those who are responsible for 
its failures. 

I hope another boat may bring us better news and that this 
season may bring some considerable success to your cause. 

I am leaving London next week, and my address will be Rochdale 
until the meeting of Parliament again, I hope not before February 
■next. Thank you for the books — my American literature is be- 
coming quite extensive. Believe me alway . . . 

John Bright. 

Rochdale, July 31, 1863. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — I need not tell you with what feelings of 
gratification and relief I have received the news of your recent suc- 

1 Moncure D. Conway. The incident is described in C. F. Adams, Studies, 
Military and Diplomatic, 369. 

1912.J BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 1 23 

cesses. The debate on the foolish "Roebuck" proposition took 
place when there was much gloom over your prospects, and the 
friends of "Secesh" here were rejoicing in the belief that your last 
hour had come. 1 How soon are the clouds cleared away and how 
great is now the despondency of those who have dishonored them- 
selves by their hatred of your people and Government ! 

The loan is down near 20 per cent in little more than a week, and 
is now, I suspect, unsaleable, and people are rubbing their eyes and 
wondering where the invincible South is gone to. Our pro-slavery 
newspapers are desperately puzzled, and the whole mass of opinion 
is in confusion. 

We look for the early capture of Charleston, and suppose that 
Mobile must soon follow. There will then only remain the rebel 
capital which, of itself, notwithstanding Mr. Gladstone, will hardly 
make a nation. 

But now will come your difficulties of statesmanship. You may 
succeed in the war, and the "Copperheads" may fail in their base 
attempts to weaken the Government, but the great question re- 
mains, how to manage the slave question, and how to reorganize 
the Governments of the restored or Southern States? I have been 
trying to settle something in my own mind about this, and the diffi- 
culty only encreases as I attempt to measure it. I begin by accept- 
ing the Proclamation as a fact not to be undone or reversed. From 
the letter of the President to the Louisiana planters, I gather that 
he wishes or expects that State to amend its constitution before it 
returns to the Union, and I suppose this means that it should deal 
with the slavery question. 2 

This has occurred to me: when the rebel armies are dispersed 
it will be necessary for the Government to announce some policy. 
Would it be possible to declare, that, in accordance with the Procla- 
mation, slavery was legally at an end, and that anything in the Con- 
stitutions or laws of the States which legalized and enacted slavery 
must be repealed and abolished to give them a right to their an- 
cient position in the Republic? Unless something definite and 
resolute is done, you may have the States repealing their ordi- 
nances of secession and assuming their old position in the nation, 
and electing members to Congress, etc., and then beginning a fight 
with the central Government in the Supreme Court as to the legality 
of the Proclamation and insisting on the retention of slavery. The 
Government would be powerless under such circumstances, all the 

1 Annual Register, 1863, 126. Pierce, iv. 142. 

2 Letter to E. E. Malhiot and others, June 19, 1863. Abraham Lincoln. Com- 
plete Works (Nicolay and Hay), 11. 356. 


base pro-Slavery party in the North would unite with the South 
and possibly your next Presidential election may be made to turn 
on this vital question, and your whole nation may be dishonored 
forever by the repudiation of the Proclamation which the existing 
Administration has failed to sustain. 

At present you can maintain a military rule in each conquered 
State; this is natural and legal. Such a rule will be distasteful to 
the population, and you will wish to put an end to it — the terms 
will be discussed. Can the Government declare the Proclamation 
an unalterable decree, and that any State which places itself in 
harmony with it shall immediately be restored to national fellow- 
ship, with its ancient rights and freedom? As to compensation in 
the rebel States, the Government gives none, leaving the States to 
deal with that question if they see fit. I think it will be necessary 
to act with great determination, or there will be a desperate effort 
to get from under the Proclamation. The question of the status 
of the negro, or his education, etc., will be full of difficulty, for the 
Government may be unable to deal with it, without the States, 
and the States may throw many obstacles in the way. 

There will be the question of the debt to arrange. Not a farthing 
of the Southern debt should be taken by the general Government. 
If the rebel States are willing to pay it, besides their portion of the 
national debt, well and good, but I suspect repudiation will be their 

Our session is over — my address is at Rochdale now and for 
some months I hope. I am going to Scotland for a month for exer- 
cise and refreshment. . . . 

John Bright. 

Private. Rochdale, September n, 1863. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — Your last letter 1 conveys to me very 
much of what my last conveyed to you on the subject of the re-ad- 
mission of the now slave States into the Union, and I am greatly 
pleased to learn that there is a probability that Florida will take the 
iC pledge" of abolition and ask to come back as a free State. Speak- 
ing to an American a few days ago, (Mr. Osborne, chairman of the 
Illinois Central Railroad,) I told him that his countrymen had hu- 
miliated themselves before slavery out of idolatry of the Union, and 
I warned him not to add infamy to their former humiliation by 
remitting men to slavery whom the Proclamation had freed, out of 
the same worship of the Union. The Union is only good and great, 
when a Union of freedom, and any compromise which gives up the 

1 Pierce, iv. 143. 

1912.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 1 25 

Proclamation will be the most deplorable event in history; it will 
be a curse on your reputation which no time can remove. It is, too, 
wholly unnecessary and inexpedient; for when Union can be had 
with it, it may be had six months later without it. 

You will hear by this mail that the ironclad steam rams are de- 
tained by the Government. I believe there is no doubt of this. I 
supposed the changed position of your affairs has helped our For- 
eign Office to the decision they have come to ! Lord Russell has just 
made a short speech at Dundee, and he has said nothing foolish, 
which shows that there is an opening of the eyes among our states- 
men as to the prospects of your war. 

It would be curious to have a speech from Gladstone now. Per- 
haps he is beginning to doubt whether Jeff. Davis has made a nation. 
There is much cleverness mixed with little wisdom or much folly in 
some men, and our Chancellor seems to be one of them. I think 
I shall make a selection from the writings of the Times and the 
speeches of our public men, and publish them, — that their igno- 
rance and folly may not be forgotten. 1 There are still men in Eng- 
land so ignorant as to believe in the South, and who will buy their 
loan at a discount of 30 per cent, but it cannot go above that point. 
Possibly some people rely on the French Emperor, and the talked 
of treaty between him and Jeff. Davis. It is too late for a 
Treaty now; Jeff, has nothing to offer, his "national" pretensions 
are as badly off in the market as his paper dollars are, and I do 
not think the concern in Paris will strike hands with the concern at 

I have been reading the account of the capture of the ironclad 
steamer Atlanta off Savannah. Your 15-inch guns throwing a shot 
of four hundred and forty pounds have no equal in the world, and 
I suspect that no large ocean-going ironclad ship could stand for an 
hour before one of your monitors. These new vessels armed with the 
15-inch guns are perfect for defence, and I hope they may be used 
only for defence, and be unable to cross the ocean; so England and 
America may be unable to assail each other. 

Can you say anything about cotton? If the great river is open, 
surely something should come down. We want it sadly here. 

I suppose Mobile will be taken, and that by the Alabama River 
your forces will penetrate northward. When the Richmond Govern- 
ment consists only of Lee's army it will be in danger. 

There is a telegram here that Davis is calling out 500,000 negroes, 

1 This was never done by Bright, but in 1865 appeared The Times on the Amer- 
ican War. A Historical Study. By L. S., well known at the time to be Leslie 
Stephen. It is reviewed in the Nation, October 19, 1865. 


and arming them, promising them freedom and fifty acres of land 
each when the war is over. Is he firing the magazine? 

I hope now all chance of evil with us is over. Our press is being 
converted, our Government will be civil, and our Secessionists will 
become ashamed of themselves. You must quarrel with nobody 
while the rebellion continues, and hereafter forgiveness will be nobler 
than revenge. . . . 

John Bright. 

Rochdale, November 20, 1863. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — I see from your papers that the prisoners 
taken on board the Chapman at San Francisco have been tried and 
found guilty; but nothing is said of the sentence passed upon them. 
If you can hear anything of the youth Rubery, and if you can do 
anything for him, I shall be glad if you will not forget him. 

I have nothing new to say from this side. Neutrality is agreed 
upon by all, and I hope a more fair or friendly neutrality than we 
have seen during the past two years. There are still heard some voices 
against you, for there is a wonderful ignorance here in all classes on 
everything American, but I can see and feel all around me that an- 
other tone prevails and that the confident predictions as to your 
failure are uttered much less frequently even by the most rash of 
your opponents. 

The Alexandra case is again on in our Court of Exchequer, and 
I can form no positive opinion as to the result. The Judge is Tory, 
very old, eighty years of age, obstinate, without being of the highest 
class of mind, and he may keep the Court to his former wrong course. 
If the decision is again adverse, it may force the Government to 
ask Parliament for an amendment of the law, which I think Parlia- 
ment would grant without difficulty; but some persons think other- 

The slaveholders' loan falls still; it is now at 32 discount, £90 
stock having fallen to 58. You feel confident doubtless that it is 
not worth one farthing? At this moment I see that it has fallen still 
lower, to 56^, which is not encouraging for the friends of the rebels. 

I read a letter lately written by General Banks to a friend in Amer- 
ica. He speaks most favorably of the change from slavery to free- 
dom in Louisiana and says that State could be brought into the 
Union with Freedom by the vote of its people, in a month from the 
date of his letter, about September 9, I think. I hope this is true, 
but, if true, why is not something done in the matter? 

Your next election for President is near. To me it seems that 
Mr. Lincoln must be your best candidate, and will carry more votes 

1912.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS. 1861-1872. 1 27 

than Mr. Chase, or any of your generals. He is not so entirely iden- 
tified with abolitionists as a party as Mr. Chase is, and will receive 
the support of the large and moderate and quiet section which is 
important among every people. You must have no division in your 
ranks — that would be fatal to every interest of the Country; and 
if Mr. Chase is wishful to be President, he may have it in 1867 prob- 
ably, if he wisely guides your finance department till the war is over. 
It is remarkable that in this country, all parties have a high respect 
for Mr. Lincoln — so much does a real integrity gain upon the minds 
of all men. 

I am anxious to hear what is doing between Grant and Bragg. 
If Grant succeeds, the contest will be evidently tending towards 
its close. Tomorrow's news may be of great importance. Richmond 
seems on the way to famine, and I can hardly see how the insurgents 
can maintain large armies so far North throughout the winter. 

Mr. Cobden comes to Rochdale to address his constituents on 
Tuesday next, the 24th inst. I dare say he will say something about 
international law. I do not intend to say much about America, but 
shall consider your question in safe hands; that is in the hands of 
the people of the United States — where I am willing to leave it. 1 

I send this to Washington where you will be about the time the 
Scotia will reach New York. . . . 

John Bright. 

Rochdale, December 15, 1863. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — The inclosed letter relates to the case of 
a boy of seventeen years old, the son of one of my former constitu- 
ents in Manchester, who is now in your army, at Hilton Head, I 

Can you undertake to obtain his discharge? He is young, of 
delicate health, and his parents are in deep grief at his conduct and 
absence from them. 

I think Mr. Stanton will be able to spare so young a boy, if you 
apply to him. 

There is nothing new here. All parties are tolerably quiet now on 
your question, and some persons are becoming more cautious.. I 
shall be curious to see the tone of our Parliament when it meets some 
six weeks hence. There will be more respect shown to you than in 
the last session. 

We are looking daily for the President's message, and for some plan 
on which you can have reconstruction without slavery. We had a 
great meeting in this town, three weeks ago, when Mr. Cobden spoke 

1 Pierce, iv. 171. 


out well on the slavery question. The meeting seemed unanimously 
with us. 

Excuse my troubling you with this case — I have rejected many 
applications to write on behalf of Englishmen in the States, as you 
may well suppose. . . . 

John Bright. 

The boy Richardson was here in the employ of Mr. T. B. Potter, 
Chairman of the Union and Emancipation Society of Manchester. 

P. S. I have with me now Mr. Rubery, the brother of the unfor- 
tunate young Englishman who has been convicted of treason at 
San Francisco. He has a recent letter from him saying that he is in 
a cell or room about ten feet by five feet, which is miserable enough, 
but that his diet is not to be complained of. His Mother is suffering 
fearfully from the circumstances of her son. J. B. 

Rochdale, January 22, 1864. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — Your letter of the 15th December gave me 
much pleasure. I am greatly obliged to you for the trouble you have 
taken in the affair of Rubery. His poor Mother has written to me 
to express her gratitude for what has been done for her son. It is 
a curious fact that her daughter, who has been for some months 
sinking into a condition of insanity, aggravated by the knowl- 
edge of her brother's offence and dangerous position, has been ap- 
parently quite restored to reason and to health by the receipt of the 
news of his pardon and of his probable early return home. I have 
heard that in the announcement of the pardon a reference was made 
to the part I have taken in the matter; if that is so I should like to 
have a copy of the document if one can easily be obtained. I have 
looked thro' the Tribune, but have not found it. May I ask you to 
convey to the President my warmest thanks for the leniency he has 
shown to Rubery, and for the consideration he has shown for my 
representations on his behalf? I have not heard the subject spoken 
of in any society in England where it has not produced a kindly 
feeling towards the President and towards the Government of the 
United States. 

There is little excitement here now on your affairs. For the mo- 
ment men's eyes are turned to Denmark and Germany, and there is 
peril of war. Fortunately the Governments of Europe know not 
where war may leave them, and they seem more anxious for peace 
than in former times. 

On your great question opinion seems to settle in or towards the 
belief that you can and will restore the Union; but great difficulties 

1912.] BRIGHT-STJMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872, 120, 

are anticipated, and some are still unconvinced. For myself I 
think I see a gradual weakening of the rebellion, and that the out- 
side States of Secessiondom adhere less closely to the conspiracy than 
heretofore. This winter will surely decide the question. Each side 
will do its utmost to restore and encrease its forces, and the spring 
or summer will see movements of great consequence. Much will 
depend on Grant and the army under his command, for I doubt 
the wisdom or the possibility of striking a fatal blow in Virginia, 
owing to the advantages which the formation of the country affords 
to the defending force. I am amazed at the conduct of the governor 
of New York State; l anything more foolish or more base has never 
been exhibited by a man holding a high position in face of the perils 
which beset his country. I suppose his policy is a measure of the 
corruption which slavery has bred in the great commercial city of 
New York, and when you have restored the South to freedom, you 
will not less have delivered the metropolis of your country. 

I expect to speak in Birmingham on Tuesday next — not on Amer- 
ica; but I may say something on your "Homestead Act" in connexion 
with the "land question" in England. 

My colleague Mr. [William] Scholefield is for the South, unhap- 
pily. Why, I cannot make out, but his course is not approved by the 
constituency as far as I can judge. . . . 

John Bright. 

London, February 18, 1864. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — I thank you for your good offices in the 
case of the boy Richardson, and I beg you will tell Mr. Stanton how 
much I appreciate his most friendly act. The father of the boy 
wrote me a letter full of gratitude for the discharge of his son. 

You think if more vigor had been shewn in some quarters the war 
might have been over by this time. Possibly, but I am not sure your 
great enemy slavery would have been so nearly destroyed. I had a 
call a few days ago from a Southern gentleman who has been in 
Bragg's army. His name is Yeatman, his wife is a Northerner, and 
has recently been on a visit with Mrs. Lincoln. He told me that in 
the South the evil and delusion of slavery were being found out, 
and many were now ready to admit that their old opinions upon 
that subject were entirely wrong. I suspect this would not have 
happened if the war had ended before this. 

There seems some activity among the rebel troops, but I hope 
with no important result adverse to your cause. Still there may be 

1 Horatio Seymour. See Rhodes, History, iv. 325; Morley, Life of Richard 
Cobden, 606. 



yet a desperate struggle for the coming season; but if you advance 
as much in 1864 as you did in 1863, the end must be near before this 
year is out. 

I do not know that our Government could now deny the belliger- 
ent rights of the rebels, after having once conceded them. I suspect 
there is no precedent for such a course. If you should get possession 
of Mobile, and Wilmington, and Charleston, then they would have 
no pretence for belligerent rights at sea, and I think our Government 
might be urged to refuse any shelter in our ports for the rebel pirate 

You will have noticed the tone taken by our Attorney General 
and Lord Palmerston a few days ago in speaking of your prize courts 
and your dealing with international law. Nothing could be more 
friendly; it was all I could wish for. 

But what a miserable thing to see our friendliness and our justice 
depending on your strength ! When you seemed weak and staggering 
under the weight of the insurrection, Prime Minister and his law 
officer combined to insult you. When you are strong and the revolt 
is staggering under your blows, they speak gently and pay you 
compliments. This statesmanship is a very low morality, and I 
despise it from my heart. 

Mr. Cobden's conflict with the Times has given great pleasure. 
The ruffians who write it will be a little more careful for a time. 1 

We do not expect war on the Denmark question. France stands 
aloof and England cannot make war alone on the continent of Eu- 
rope; she has no men for a land force to cope with any one of the 
great Powers. I hope she may never have an ally in Europe to tempt 
her into war. 

Our session is as quiet as yours, and we expect nothing till the 
general election next year, unless our octogenarian Minister gives 
up before then. He is gouty and not quite well now, and the cold 
weather keeps him at home for a day or two. 

Will your war end this year in its great features? Can anybody 
tell when it will end? . . . 

John Bright. 

Rochdale, September 2, 1864. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — It is long since I have heard from you and 
I am hungry for some more definite information than I can get from 
the newspapers. They give us full details of the strife and the carnage 
in the field, but do not tell us what to expect from the contest for the 
Presidential election. I suppose you do not associate yourself with 

1 Issued as a pamphlet, Mr. Cobden and The "Times" Manchester, 1864. 

1912.J BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 131 

any party opposed to Mr. Lincoln, and yet that you wish he was a 
little more firm and clear in some things. With us, I think nearly 
all the friends of the North are most anxious that Mr. Lincoln should 
be elected again; they think any change must be for the worse, and 
that it would infuse new faith into the minds of the Secessionists 
both North and South. I am strongly of this opinion. It seems to 
me that the Proclamation of freedom, and the recent announcement 
"to all whom it may concern" in reply to the absurd propositions 
from certain rebels at the Falls, ought to content all anti-Slavery 
men, and should make it impossible for them to incur the risk of 
electing a nominee of the Chicago convention. 1 To elect Mr. Lincoln 
will be to tell Europe that the country is to be restored and slavery 
is to be destroyed, and it will say the same thing to the Southern 

The rebel cause seems now to be seated on two points as it 
were — Atlanta and Richmond; but if only Atlanta should fall, and 
if Mobile should be taken, I think the peace and slavery party 
in the North would be demolished, and the success of Mr. Lin- 
coln and of the Union party would be secured. Here, there is 
always great interest in your contest. The newspapers are less 
violent in their opposition to you, always excepting the avowed 
partisans of the Slave cause, and men speak with less confidence 
in favor of the South. 

At the same time there is great uncertainty of opinion. It fluc- 
tuates with the varying news from week to week, and men become 
puzzled with the long continued strife. For myself I am rendered 
unhappy very often by your disasters, and all my efforts to harden 
myself against the anxiety which oppresses me are unsuccessful. 

Professor Goldwin Smith of Oxford is now about landing in your 
country; he sailed a fortnight ago in the Europa. He is a great friend 
of the North and of freedom, and is a man you will delight to meet 
and to know if you are not already acquainted with him. 2 

I have been reading Horace Greeley's History of the Conflict. I 
think his narrative of the Slavery conflict before the war is admirable, 
and as I have read it, I have seen more and more clearly how inevit- 
able was the final struggle. 

Forgive my troubling you, but I want to hear what is coming, or 
what you think is coming. You may not be able to lift the veil, but 
possibly you may think you see something of what is covered by it. 
Therefore write to me in some leisure half hour, if you have such 
leisure. ... 

John Bright. 

1 Rhodes, iv. 513. 8 See Proceedings, xliv. 3. 


Rochdale, September 3, 1864. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — There is a desire here among the friends of 
the Freedmen to send a ship-load of goods for their benefit. The 
Committee managing the affair is in Birmingham, and are among my 
Constituents. They have written to ask me to write to the United 
States to ascertain if your Government will remit the import duties 
on the articles they are about to send. I have undertaken to write 
to you, in the hope that you will make the needful application to the 
Department, and help them to obtain this aid to their benevolent 

I think it likely the Committee will apply to Mr. Fessenden on 
the same subject. If you can forward their views I am sure you will 
have pleasure in doing so. 

I cannot yet give the name of the ship — it is possible our Govern- 
ment may furnish a ship for the voyage; but this is not certain. 

We have all the rumours of peace negotiations, and of armistice. 
Surely there can never be any admission of the right of secession, 
or any undertaking of the Southern debt, or any restoration of 

I read your military news by the Persia this morning as favorable, 
and hope it may turn out to be so. 

I wrote to you yesterday by the same mail as this letter will go by. 
I shall be glad to hear from you. . . . 

John Bright. 

Rochdale, January 26, 1865. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — I am glad to see your handwriting again 
and I thank you for your good wishes and for the expression of your 

Our dear boy died in the house in which you saw us at Llandudno, 
and after only three days of illness. The trial has been and is heavy 
upon us. 

The Wilmington business has a strange look of childishness and 
absurdity — after more than three years of war, one would have 
thought such a blunder impossible. I am sorry for Butler. He came 
out at the first from his party, and he has been so much hated by 
all your enemies that I have always rather liked him. I can give no 
opinion on the Louisiana question, but console myself in the belief 
that what is best, or what is possible will be done. I think you need 
not trouble yourself about England. At this moment opinion seems 
to have undergone a complete change, and our people and indeed 
our Government is more moderately disposed than I have ever 

1912.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 133 

before known it to be. I hear from a member of the Government that 
it is believed that the feeling .between our Cabinet and the Washing- 
ton Government has been steadily improving. 

Lord Russell is capricious in his thoughts and sayings and writings 
and actions, and hence you have expressions which are not intended 
to do mischief, but which really do mischief. I sometimes suspect 
he says things he would rather not say that he may not appear to 
take sides with the North. The Star assumes that culpable negligence 
against our Government cannot be proved, and that therefore your 
claims cannot be supported — for it would be absurd to suppose 
that, after our laws had been evaded in spite of proper efforts to pre- 
vent it, we should be called upon to compensate you for the damage 
done by a ship which had sailed from an English port. The whole 
matter depends on the intention, or rather on the "culpable" neg- 
ligence shewn by our Government. 

I have seen Goldwin Smith since his return, and I have read your 
article. It is clear to me that he has not quite fairly interpreted 
your meaning. I hope you will find a suitable successor to Mr. 
Dayton; there was a quiet good sense and dignity in his manner that 
pleased me very much. Mr. Adams has done well here — everybody 
here says so, and I think his return home, which I hear is soon in- 
tended, will be generally regretted. He is calm and thoughtful, 
never in a passion and never in a panic, and he has seen much here 
to have excited a man of a less governed temper. You ask do we 
mean war? We seem never to have been so far from it, or from wish- 
ing it — all men are against anything that may create difficulty with 
you. I mean all but the avowed and virulent Secesh party which 
does not include many Englishmen here. 

Opinion now is becoming unanimous that the South cannot win, 
and by and by all will wish the rebels would at once submit, for the 
difficulty of business is fearful so long as your war lasts, and losses 
in many branches of trade have been and are great. 

I enclose a letter which may be worth your reading. The writer of 
it need not be publicly named. I can give no opinion on the point on 
which he writes. 

If you can tell me anything of the chances of peace or of the future, 
let me hear from you. Mr. Cobden has been ill but is better, but 
will not be at the opening of Parliament. . . . 

John Bright. 

Confidential. 14 Hanover St., London, February 17, 1865. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — I am disposed to write to you on two points. 
There seems still to be an idea in America that somebody in Europe 


intends to meddle in your contest. I suppose the rebels invent the 
story and credulous people believe it. With us such a notion is un- 
known. All parties and classes here are resolved on a strict neu- 
trality, and I believe there is an honest intention that no further cause 
of irritation or quarrel shall come from this side. The French Em- 
peror says nothing about you in his speech — absolutely nothing; 
and I believe he intends to do nothing. In fact any other course 
would be akin to madness, and certainly this Government will give 
no countenance to anything which may provoke war between you and 
any state in Europe. So far on this point. I may say further that 
when a very obtuse man, Sir Jno. Walsh, spoke to the House of Com- 
mons last Friday night, about your notices to put an end to treaties, 
his words fell on the ears of an unsympathizing audience. 1 The tone 
of Parliament is wholly changed, and men begin to be ashamed of 
what has been said and done during the last four years. For my 
part I think you are quite right about having more force on the Lakes, 
and wrong about the reciprocity Treaty; but this last you will find 
out in time. 2 

The other point is as to peace. I cannot see the wisdom of these 
pretended negociations with the Richmond conspirators; they can, 
I think, lead to nothing good. The time is not yet come, and when 
it is come "negociations" will be needless. 

There seems almost nothing to discuss except the personal fate 
or safety of the leaders in the great crime. The question of Union 
cannot be discussed — Mr. Lincoln can offer no terms on that, but 
those he has from the first offered. The question of Slavery is equally 
closed, for the amendment of your Constitution effectually disposes 
of it, and all States in or hereafter to be in the Union must obey this 
new clause. There remain the questions of confiscation of property, 
and the fate of the guilty leaders of the rebellion, and here the sym- 
pathizers with rebeldom say there is another question — the ar- 
rangement about the rebel debts. 

With regard to confiscation of property not already seized and sold, 
you can be generous as you like, and in all things you will be far 
more generous than any other Country or Government would be 
in like circumstances. As to the leaders, the true interests of the 
whole Union would be best consulted by their exile, for I cannot think 
it would be wise to have them again in your Congress after the calam- 
ities they have caused, and the crimes they have committed. Per- 

1 He represented Radnor County, Wales. 

2 The treaty with Great Britain, extending the right of fishing and regulating 
commerce and navigation between the United States and the British possessions 
in North America, proclaimed September n, 1854, was terminated by notice on 
the part of the United States, March 17, 1866. 

1912.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 135 

haps they would sink into privacy and obscurity if left in their own 
land, but this is not sure, and I am certain that common justice 
demands that their heavy guilt should not be passed over. As to 
the rebel debt it is scarcely conceivable that the North would take 
upon itself the main portion of a debt contracted to cause its own 
destruction. As well ask a man who is well nigh ruined from a bur- 
glary committed upon his house, to defray the travelling expenses 
and the cost of crowbars of the gang who have attacked him. 

When the South is willing to negociate, it is because the war is 
no longer possible to its leaders; when war is no longer possible, then 
such negociations are needless. There is a great danger by these 
meetings with "Commissioners" who have really no commission, 
that you will paralyze your military operations, and slacken all your 
efforts to fill up your ranks, and you may possibly revive that great 
compromise party which voted for McClellan at the late election. 

It is probably presumptuous in me thus to remark on what is 
passing amongst you, but my anxiety must be my excuse. To me, 
looking from this distance I should say that after so great sacrifices, 
it would be weakness now and evil for the future, not to make your 
conquest over the spirit of secession and slavery complete. If I 
were to write down a plan of what should be done, I should put it 
somewhat in this form. 

1. Slavery extirpated wholly and at once throughout the Union 
and without compensation in any shape. 

2. Amnesty to all except a dozen or a score of those who most pro- 
moted and have guided the course of the rebellion. 

3. Lands already seized and sold to remain with their present 
possessors. In other cases a large generosity and mercy will be most 

4. The Leaders if they remain in the country to be shut out from 
all offices in the Union or in any State, or to spend their lives in for- 
eign lands. 

5. All debts contracted by the Conspiracy to be utterly void, 
whether contracted in the Southern States or in any foreign 

The "Secesh" people here say that in any settlement, the Southern 
debts will be undertaken by the U. S. Government, and on this im- 
possible idea when the news of Mr. Seward having gone to meet 
Stephens was received here the Cotton Loan actually rose 4 or 5 
per cent! 

My opinion is that it is the duty of your Government and the in- 
terest of all your people, that nothing should be done or conceded 
that lessens the idea of the crime which the slaveholders have com- 
mitted. You may have plots and conspiracies hereafter, and possible 


attempts at Secession or War, and surely, if the leaders of this re- 
bellion are received into the bosom of the State, and if the sums they 
have expended in the effort to destroy the Government and the 
Country are repaid to them by that Government and that Country, 
there will be held out to future aspirants for "independence" no 
small encouragement and support. The more complete your con- 
quest of the slaveholding oligarchy and its leaders at Richmond — 
the better for the future of the whole country and the less you con- 
cede to them on all points but those of life and property, the less 
will you be likely hereafter to be troubled with a repetition of their 
crime. If the Richmond leaders have any offers to make, I would 
hear them, but I would not exhibit myself as wishful to make them 
offers which are not wise under the circumstances of the case, and 
which they are probably not yet sufficiently humbled to be ready 
to accept. 

Josephus says of the chiefs who defended Jerusalem against 
Titus that they were "incapable of repentance." I suspect this is 
true of Davis and the worst of his following, and it is to this perhaps 
that the world will owe the destruction of Slavery on your Continent. 
Your Government and people have been firm in the conduct of the 
war; the world is astonished at your firmness, and hereafter it will 
admire and praise; I only hope it may not have to regret that any 
weakness was shewn in the winding up of the great drama. I am 
for mercy and for generosity to the Southern people, but it is not 
merciful to them or to the Northern people that the character and 
the results of the crime of the Southern leaders should be forgotten. 

Spare me half an hour or less, and tell me what is doing or is likely 
to be done. I am very anxious as you may suppose, and I want some 
one to lift the veil of the future even tho' it be but a little. 

Mr. Cobden is better in health, but our weather is too severe for 
him to come up to Parliament at present. 

I am afraid I have written too much. . . . 

John Bright. 

Forgive me if I have said too much, or spoken unadvisedly and 
presumptuously. I feel I cannot see all the difficulties of the situa- 
tion, and perhaps should be silent. 1 

Rochdale, April 14, 1865. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — I ought to have written to you ten days 
ago — but I have been so much disturbed by the sad loss I have sus- 
tained, that I have felt unable to write. You will learn probably 
to-day that our friend Mr. Cobden is taken from us, and you will 

1 Pierce, iv. 229. 

1912.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 137 

know something of the loss which every good cause has suffered from 
his death. To-morrow it will be five weeks since I paid him a visit 
at Midhurst, to spend Sunday with him. We had a most pleasant 
day, and took a stroll on his land in the middle of the day. He was 
pretty well, tho' looking rather thin and older than when I saw him 

Our conversation was much on America, and on the Canadian 
defenses question, and he was never more cheerful and intelligent 
and pleasant than on this occasion. I did not expect he would at- 
tempt to come up to Parliament before Easter, and was greatly sur- 
prised to receive a note from him on the 21st March saying that he 
would be in London on the evening of that day, and asking me to 
call upon him. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, the 19th, 20th and 
2 1 st were days of unusual cold and the east wind swept with bitter 
severity over London. I called upon him on Wednesday the 2 2d 
at noon, and found him in bed. He was taken ill immediately on 
reaching his lodgings the previous evening, and had passed a dis- 
turbed night; but when I saw him he was better, and quite cheerful 
conversing with his usual freedom, and intending to be up during 
the afternoon. He did get up and dined with his wife and daughter 
at five o'clock, but immediately after dinner he was again ill from 
another attack of asthma, and more seriously than before. He had 
medical aid and continued ill from day to day. I called on Saturday, 
but did not see him. He was ordered to be kept very quiet and not 
to talk. I left town till the Thursday following, hearing from his 
daughter once in the interval. I was very anxious and on my return 
went at once to see him. The account was more favorable, but I 
did not believe it. Nobody seemed to believe in his danger but my- 
self. On Saturday evening I was at his house but did not see him. 
I was there again at midnight, and at eight in the morning, when he 
was quite unconscious, as he continued to the end — he died at 
fifteen minutes after eleven o'clock on Sunday morning the 2d of 
this month. 

This has been a sad shock to me; the sorrow excited over all the 
country is something extraordinary and unequalled. All men now 
acknowledge his public services and his personal virtues, and he is 
placed in the highest rank among the honorable names of the de- 
parted. He came up to town during that severe weather for the ex- 
press purpose of taking part in the debate on the "Canada defenses" 
question, and it is greatly to be deplored that his views were not 
stated in Parliament. The funeral was a memorable time. You will 
see in the newspapers more than I can write; for myself it seemed as 
if half my life were buried with him in that grave. How many who 



have watched your great conflict with intense interest have not been 
permitted to see its close! 1 

I cannot write as I could wish. I am unnerved by this sad event, 
and I write as if I were years older during the past fortnight. 

We are anxiously looking for further news from you. The crisis 
has come — or may indeed be past. Everything in business here 
seems at a stand till something decisive and final is heard from New 
York. In your last letter you said you would write next to Mr. 
Cobden. How dark the future is to us! 

If you can tell me anything don't fail to write to me. Is it possible 
to do anything in the matter on which Mr. Goldwin Smith has 
written the enclosed letter? . . . 

John Bright. 

London, March 18, 1865. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — Mr. Chas. Cheetham, a friend and neigh- 
bor of mine, and the Rev. Marmaduke Miller of Darlington are 
about to visit the States. They have been active friends of the North 
during your recent troubles and Mr. Miller has lectured effectively 
in your cause. Their visit is one partly for health and partly for 
observation. They will probably wish to see the Hospitals, and the 
establishments for the Freedmen. 

If you can forward their object in obtaining permission to see what 
it may be useful for them to see, I shall feel obliged to you. . . . 

John Bright. 2 

Private. Rochdale, May 16, 1865. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — I thank you for your interesting letters 
of April 1 8th and 24th, and I hasten to write to you upon one pas- 
sage in that of the 24th, in which you say "Public opinion insists upon 
executions," and that at least one of your leading statesmen thinks 
"there must be three or four in each State." I can hardly tell you 
the anxiety this announcement has given me. If you had lost a 
great battle I could hardly have felt more pain. I am against cap- 
ital punishments, and believe them to be barbarous and needless; 
but I will not argue the question on this ground. 

In considering the case of the leading Rebels, as respects the pun- 
ishment to be inflicted on them, the question of slavery must be 
omitted from it. That the war was made in support of that chief 
of all iniquities does not affect their position in the eye of the law. 

1 Pierce, iv. 239, 241. 

2 A letter, dated April 29, 1865, on the assassination of the President, is in 
Pierce, rv. 240. It was answered by Sumner, May 16. lb. 243. 

igi2.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 139 

It adds to their moral guilt', but not to their legal offense. Slavery 
was a legal institution in your country, established in certain States, 
and permitted by your Constitution, and therefore an attachment to 
it cannot by your law be reckoned a crime. We must consider the 
case of the rebel leaders entirely apart from our hatred of the cause 
for which they have made war. 

The insurrection has been of great magnitude and has become a 
first-class war. It has been regarded as a war by your Government 
and people, and by all foreign nations. During its continuance, you 
have treated with the generals and with the agents of the Richmond 
Government, tho' you may say you have never directly treated with 
that Government itself. 

Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Seward met eminent members or agents of 
that Government at Fortress Monroe with a view to arrange a peace, 
and your generals have accepted the surrender of armies and their 
commanders on terms, not applicable to the case of traitors and 
rebels, so much as to that of enemies in what is termed legal and 
honorable war. You have conquered, and the opponents of your 
Government are at your feet, and the question arises, what shall 
you do with them? 

I admit that the traitors merit any punishment which it can 
be shewn to be to the advantage and honor of the country to 

You cannot punish the whole Southern people, and a selection 
must be made. You will choose the most eminent among them, who 
have been their leaders, and the most guilty. Members of the Rich- 
mond Government and commanders of armies are obviously the 
most eminent, and having most influence, have been most guilty. 
They number, probably, a score of men, perhaps double that num- 
ber, perhaps fifty in all. From these how can you make a selection? 
and can you hang them" all? Can you hold a "bloody assize" in 
every Southern State and put to death the leading men in each State ? 
I think not. The whole proceeding would shock your own country 
and would astonish and disgust the world. It is bad enough for 
Austria or Russia to hang or shoot those who rebel, but it would 
be intolerable under your institutions, — intolerable because clearly 

Take Davis and Lee for special examples. It would be impossible 
to exempt them and to punish any below them in rank and guilt. 
I hold Lee to be of the very worst of the guilty, altho' I see with you, 
as in this country, men speak of him as an honorable man and rather 
applaud than condemn him. If any man is visited with heavy pun- 
ishment, surely Lee cannot escape. He has been the prime agent 
of Davis, and for the last two years, he has been the soul of the whole 


rebel 'military action, and he has permitted the atrocities commit- 
ted by commanders under him, and inflicted on your northern 

But Davis and Lee and the rest of them have families and friends 
and partisans, and they have been the representatives of thousands, 
if not indeed of millions of their mistaken and angry countrymen, 
all of whom you can neither hang nor banish, and who will feel a 
strong sympathy in their fate. 

One of the great objects of your Government now should be to 
change the character of the South, to root out the brutality and 
cruelty which have sprung from slavery, to create a reverence for 
human life, and to prove the mercy no less than the justice of your 
Federal Government. To hang any of these men will exasperate 
multitudes. You must remember that in the rebellion, millions have 
been involved, and have regarded their leaders with confidence and 
often with admiration, and everyone of these millions will feel himself 
almost equally guilty with the victims you may select. They will 
therefore look upon their execution, not so much as a just and neces- 
sary punishment, as an act of vengeance, savage, needless and un- 

Capital punishment is being gradually banished from the world; 
fifty years hence it may be unknown among Christian nations. In 
the last insurrections in this country it was not inflicted. The in- 
surgents in South Wales some years ago, and in Ireland more re- 
cently, were tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death; but they 
were not hanged. They were banished, and after some years they 
were permitted to return to their native country. During your war 
and rebellion, no man has been put to death for any act of treason 
by any civil court, and now, in your hour of triumph, you need not 
have recourse to what has hitherto been unnecessary. Let it be said 
hereafter that your blood-shedding was only in self-defence, and that, 
when your safety was secured, no man's life was taken under the 
pretext of justice or revenge. I have no sympathy with those who 
say the leaders of the rebellion are not great criminals and do not 
deserve heavy punishment. On the contrary, I agree with your 
President that treason is a crime, and should be punished as a crime, 
and that it is only just to your people and to posterity that it should 
receive whatever penalty it may be good for the country to inflict; 
but one punishment may have only good in it, and another may 
have as much of evil as of good. All your friends in England, I mean 
your thoughtful earnest friends, are relying on your magnanimous 
character, and they point to your wise and generous policy as a 
proof at once of the excellence of your institutions and the civilization 
of your people. 

igi2.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 141 

I have read the speeches of Mr. Beecher and Mr. Wendell Phillips; 
that of the latter at the Tremont Temple seems to me great as an 
effort of oratory and as an expression of statesmanship at this crit- 
ical time. 1 I agree mainly with Mr. Phillips on the question of the 
punishment of the rebel leaders, and if I could speak to your Govern- 
ment and people, I should implore them to exclude the gallows from 
their view, and to be content with the banishment of the men who 
have brought so great evil upon your Country. 

If it be thought necessary to bring the leaders to trial, and to con- 
vict them, be it so; but this will involve much time and great excite- 
ment and passion, and will do much to prevent the pacification of 
the rebel states, and the restoration of that temper without which 
the real reconstruction of the Union will be impossible. And, since 
the murder of the President, it may be that the spirit of revenge 
may so take possession of a portion of your people that you may 
find it difficult to omit the extreme punishment when the rebel 
chiefs are in your hands, and when a conviction has been obtained. 
I think another course is preferable if it is possible. I would select 
the most guilty men, and those who, if left in the country, would be 
most likely to be mischievous hereafter, and I would banish them 
from their native land forever. I would select a certain number, 
members of the rebel Government, generals of the rebel armies, and 
men whose acts have been marked by special hostility and cruelty, 
and I would banish them from the country by some form of decree 
or proclamation which should describe their crime. I would claim 
credit for abstaining from taking the lives which are forfeited by 
law, and I would declare them forever expelled from the country 
they have sought to ruin, and banished with the infamy they have 

To me this appears the wise course, and the great course. It is 
not a dynasty, cruel from selfishness and terror, which is about to 
act, but a great nation, leader and teacher of all other nations, and 
a nation which has shewn a solidity of power far excelling that of 
any dynasty in the world, and which can afford the highest exhibi- 
tion of clemency and moderation. 

Every man who hopes for liberty in Europe breathes more freely 
now, when your success is secured. It will add incalculably to the 
force of your example, if now in the hour of your triumph you can 
shew the same moral grandeur that you have displayed during your 
mortal conflict. 

Banish the most guilty if you will, break up your pestilent plan- 

1 The address was delivered April 19, 1865, and was printed as a pamphlet 
at the office of the Worcester Palladium. 


tation oligarchy, make a signal example of the class which has con- 
spired and made war upon your Government and country, but do 
not grant one victim to the gallows on the ground of treason and 
rebellion. Twenty years hence, if you thus act, it will be one more 
glorious thing to say of your Government, that since the foundation 
of your State, it has not been necessary to take a human life under 
the action of your civil code and courts, in defence of your institutions 
and your laws. 

I have written you a long letter, but it does not say all I feel, and 
it does not say it well. I write rather in haste that I may catch to- 
morrow's boat; but I write what presses upon me very much, and 
what occurs to me to say as a distant spectator of the great events 
passing among you. What I have said, you will understand as refer- 
ring only to those who have been in the rebellion, and not to the con- 
spirators against the life of your President and your Ministers. I 
speak only of those concerned in the great political crime of the last 
four years. To them the suffering and the remorse which will track 
their lives must be worse to bear than death itself. 1 

I write you a note by this mail on general subjects. I hope what 
has lately passed among us will be satisfactory to your people. . . . 

John Bright. 

Private. Rochdale, May 16, 1865. 

' Dear Mr. Sumner, — You will see that a question about recall- 
ing "Belligerent rights" was asked last night in Parliament. The 
answer seems to me confused, and is made to turn on the continuance 
of your Blockade. If your ports are blockaded then there is war; if 
war, then there are belligerents; if belligerents, then we cannot change 
our position. I thought your blockade was at an end, and that your 
ports, Galveston perhaps excepted, were closed by an internal 

I think the proper question to have been asked is this, whether 
Confederate corsairs or privateers, or ships of war are still to be ad- 
mitted to British ports or to our ports in any part of the world? 
This might be determined without reference to your blockade. In 
a recent letter you refer to the "Alabama case," and you say "get 
the Alabama case out of the way." I do not quite understand you. 
Do you mean get our Government to consent to pay the claims on 
account of the Alabama, or merely do you mean that we shut out 
Alabamas and Shenandoahs from our ports? 

The Alabama claims will not be paid merely because they are 
demanded. You have claims against us, and we have claims against 

1 Pierce, rv. 253. 

1912.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 143 

you. The most that can be expected is that all claims shall be fairly 
considered and discussed, and if need be referred to some competent 
and impartial tribunal — some fair referee. 

I do not think it possible that any decision can be come to; cer- 
tainly none favorable to your view, before the meeting of Congress; 
but negociation may be going on, and the tone of our Government 
may be ascertained. If you see any distinct way in which I can help 
the question towards a fair hearing, I shall be glad to know it. It 
is one which will need delicate handling on both sides. 

I have made extracts from your last letters, and have sent them 
to Mrs. Cob den with your message to her and her family. 
, We have had a month of sore trial in the loss of Mr. Cobden, and 
of my brother-in-law Mr. Lucas l of the Star, and of your good Pres- 
ident. In this country the feeling excited by the murder of the 
President has been extraordinary. He had laid hold of men's hearts 
by the simplicity, and honesty, and kindness of his nature, and the 
universal sympathy excited, has done much to change and improve 
the public feeling on all questions of policy affecting America. 

I have been away from Parliament for three weeks past. The sad 
events of April had disturbed me much, and I went down to Scot- 
land for fresh air and scenes. I expect to be in London again during 
this week. I have suggested to Mrs. Cobden that she may send 
me the letter you mentioned, and I may have it in a day or two. 

I thank you for your attention to the case of the Englishman, and 
wish to thank the President for his friendly expressions with regard 
to me. 

I shall look for your letters as you have time and disposition to 
write to me. . . . 

John Bright. 

Rochdale, July 24, 1865. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — This is a postscript to my letter of Sat- 
urday last. 

I mentioned the case of certain blockade runners and great friends 
of the rebel cause who are said to have obtained their cotton and 
to have succeeded better than some of their neighbors. 

I know nothing of the matter positively, and only said what ru- 
mour says on the subject. Perhaps I ought not to have referred to 
it at all, as I do not wish to be, or to seem to be, vindictive towards 
those who have behaved so ill during your great struggle. 

I do not wish [to drag the people into any difficulty, or to accuse 

1 Samuel Lucas (1811-1865). Diet, of National Biography, xxxiv. 241. He 
had married Margaret Bright in 1839. 


them, or any one in any department of your Government. I narrate 
to you what is said here, in the way of epistolary gossip. 

Our Elections are over, and the Tory party is well beaten. With 
a system of representation so bad, it is wonderful that a Parliament 
can be returned that in any degree represents liberal opinions. The 
House is not expected to meet before February next. 

I can make out little from your papers what is doing in the South; 
but I fear things are not going quite as you wish. It is a heavy and 
complicated work which is upon you. 

The delay in proceeding with Jeff. Davis creates enquiry here; 
the general feeling is that it is in his favor; but the sudden execution 
of the conspirators has again excited the fears of his friends. 1 I 
should like him to come to England to see how the English "Secesh" 
would receive him. 

We have a hot summer, such as we have scarcely had since 

Happily we have no exciting news, and our papers are dull. . . . 

John Bright. 

It is telegraphed here that one of your Ministers has made a strong 
speech against France, in connection with the Mexican business. 2 I 
read the long letter you sent me on the same subject in one of your 

Rochdale, August 16, 1865. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — This note will introduce to you my friend 
Mr. Edward Watkin, M.P., for the borough of Stockport. 

Mr. Watkin is greatly interested in Canadian affairs and doubt- 
less in the discussions on the Reciprocity Treaty, and he wishes to 
see you and some others whose opinions and action may influence 
the settlement of that question. 

I am afraid Mr. Watkin has not altogether taken such a view of 
recent events in America as you and I have done, but he can rejoice 
with us in the restoration of peace and the abolition of slavery. . . . 

John Bright. 

Rochdale, September 22, 1865. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — This note will be presented to you by my 
nephew Mr. Frank J. Bright, who is about to visit the States, on a 
tour of amusement and instruction. 

1 Pierce, iv. 255. 

2 This probably refers to Montgomery Blair's speech at Hagerstown, Mary- 
land, July n. He had ceased to be a member of the President's Cabinet in 
September, 1864. 

191 2.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 145 

If you can give him access to anything he may wish to see, I shall 
feel indebted to you. I do not wish him to feel an entire stranger if 
he should visit your city. 

There has been much talk of my paying you a visit, but I seem as 
if I could not leave home. When the age of fifty years is passed, 
there is less disposition to travel and more to rest; so I find it, and 
I feel too idle to undertake the labor of a voyage to and journey in 
the United States. 

The President's policy of unlimited confidence in the South may 
be wise as far as the white people are concerned, but I doubt it much 
in reference to the interests of the negro. Your proposition for delay 
seems very wise. 

I shall be anxious to see the tone of Congress, and hope the Presi- 
dent will not put himself in opposition to it. But I abstain from say- 
ing anything, and indeed from forming positive conclusions on a sub- 
ject of so much difficulty as the great problem now presented to your 

If I were with you, I should take the generous and liberal view in 
my treatment of the negro, and I hope your people and Government 
may have the courage to take it. . . . 

John Bright. 

Private. Rochdale, October 20, 1865. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — The tone of your last letter, September 26, 
does not much surprise me, for I have felt in a less degree something 
of what you have felt and said. The President seems strangely 
changed in his mode of talking of and dealing with the active men 
of the rebellion. At first he was all severity; treason was the greatest 
crime of all crimes, and must be punished as such. Now nobody is 
punished. Lee is allowed to become Principal of a College to teach 
loyalty to your young men, and I suppose bye and bye Davis will 
be free, and may again make his appearance in the Senate at Wash- 
ington. Who knows that Lee may not contest with Grant the 
succession to the Presidential chair? 

But something may be said for this mercy. It will outwardly 
restore the Union sooner, and it may possibly be wise, but I fear it 
is accompanied with rather less regard for the interests of the negro, 
and the fundamental principles of your Constitution. I can see some 
difficulty in the way of the President if he attempts to give the suf- 
frage to the negro. He may join Congress in shutting the South out 
from Congress unless the law in every point is the same for white 
and black, but most unfortunately for this course, even in a majority 
of the free States, the suffrage law does not appear to be the same 



for the two races. How then could he insist on doing that in the 
South which he cannot enforce in the North? Can this be done ex- 
cept by another amendment of the Constitution? and if not, could 
such an amendment be carried? I think not. But something 
may still be done perhaps. When our slaves were made free, 
Parliament passed a law to enable the Government at home to 
appoint stipendiary magistrates in the West India Colonies for 
the express purpose of administering the law, and of protecting the 
freedmen. This law, I believe, was very necessary, and it has 
worked well. 

Our slaves were made free by a law passed regularly thro' Parlia- 
ment, and after compensation was paid to the planters; yours by 
an act of the "war-power" without compensation, and after or 
during a desperate struggle. In your case, therefore, there will be 
the more need of some special protection for the negro; but how it is 
to be given him if all the rights and powers of the States are to be 
restored, I do not see. The recent election in Connecticut is not a 
good sign, and I am not sure, now the war is over, and the national 
peril past, that the North is anxious to do full justice to the men 
their arms have made free. 1 

I had a long talk last Sunday with the people at your Legation 
in London, and on this topic. I suggested that the President was 
deserting those who made him what he is by making him Vice-Presi- 
dent, and that he was rebuilding the Democratic party. This was 
not assented to. It was urged that the views of the Radicals — your 
views I suppose — were too far in advance for the country and that, 
if persisted in, they would lead to a complete reunion of the South 
and the Northern democrats, and would destroy the republican 
party; whereas the course of the President would effectually under- 
mine the democratic organization, and make the old arrangement of 
Northern democrat and Southern planter impossible. I confess that, 
to me, it seems the President is looking too much for an outward 

1 The following amendment to the State Constitution was submitted to pop- 
ular ratification in Connecticut: "Every male citizen of the United States who 
shall have attained the age of twenty-one years, who shall have resided in this 
State for the term of one year next preceding, and in the town in which he may 
offer himself to be admitted to the privileges of an elector, at least six months 
next preceding the time at which he may so offer himself, and shall be able to read 
any article of the Constitution, or any section of the statutes of this State, and 
shall sustain a good moral character, shall, on taking such oath as may be pre- 
scribed by law, become an elector." The intention of the amendment was to 
nullify a clause in the Constitution which denied the right of suffrage to colored 
persons, except those who were citizens of the State at the time of the adoption 
of the Constitution, in 181 1. The vote was 27,217 for the amendment, and 
33,489 against it; majority against, 6,272. 

1012.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. I47 

restoration of the Union, and too little at the future position of the 
four millions who have been made free. 1 

I abstain from writing or speaking in public on this matter, be- 
cause I think as " outsiders" we are liable to mistakes, and also that 
interference and advice from England are not likely to be received 
in a very cordial spirit by a large portion of your countrymen. 

When Congress meets, there will be much and hot debate on these 
points, and I cannot see clearly how they will be settled. It will 
be a matter much to be deplored if the States of the South are re- 
stored to full power, and the negro left to the tender mercies of his 
old masters. But I have great faith in your people, and your press, 
and your schools and your general freedom, and from these I hope 
we shall see that the negro will be shielded from serious wrong. 

We have had much discussion lately on the correspondence between 
Mr. Adams and Lord Russell on your claims. Our Government has 
put itself into a position of difficulty, out of which it will be hard to 
extricate itself. It refuses to refer the matter to any other Govern- 
ment or to any commission. You will not consider our claims unless 
we consider yours. Our claims are not contested on the ground of 
principle, as yours are, and yet they must wait till some other arrange- 
ment is made about yours. In this dilemma our Government, and 
such of our people as have claims upon you, must suffer by the delay. 
I suppose Mr. Seward will not consent to Lord Russell's commission, 
so long as he retains his present position as to your claims. The whole 
question will thus remain in suspense, and our Government will not 
be able to proceed with claims, to many of which, I presume, there 
is no opposition. 

What your Congress will do, I know not. There will be speeches 
more or less unwise, and perhaps violent and irritating, and we may 
see a disturbed state of feeling in both countries. If you can give 
me any information as to the future, I shall be very glad to have it. 
I shall suggest that the question of the "Alabama claims" be sub- 
mitted to a council of eminent jurists selected, one from each of the 

1 "Then came Mr. Bright, who spent a couple of hours in talking over our 
internal process of reconstruction. The policy of Mr. Johnson excites much un- 
easiness in the extreme class in America, which reacts upon our friends here. 
I did what I could to reassure him. As to making negro suffrage an issue, it is 
simply suicide, in the state of popular feeling in America. The question is con- 
clusively settled by the result of the question put to the people in Connecticut 
in the form of an amendment to the State Constitution. It is rejected by a large 
majority. If such a prejudice prevails in Connecticut, the state of feeling in 
the States to the south and west is scarcely likely to be less. So far as Mr. John- 
son is concerned, I said I had yet seen no reason to doubt him. Whilst I had no 
acquaintance with or particular interest in him, his course thus far had won 
upon my confidence." Charles Francis Adams, MS. Diary. 


great states of Europe. Their verdict could not be humiliating either 
to us or to you, and any verdict will be better than a protracted 

Our old Prime Minister died two days ago. This day he would 
have completed his 81st year. His successor is not yet appointed, but 
I think Lord Russell will succeed him, with Mr. Gladstone as the 
leader in the Commons and perhaps Lord Clarendon as Foreign 
Secretary. 1 

The change, whatever it be, will make no immediate change in 
your affairs, except that I think the friends of a pacific and reason- 
able policy will find themselves stronger, and I believe that at home, 
a more liberal tone will be observed and that the question of suffrage 
extension will have greatly gained. I am of opinion too that our 
press will be greatly better, for Palmerston was most unscrupulous 
in his dealing with our newspapers. He has done much to degrade and 
demoralize them during the last thirty years, as he has done, indeed, 
with regard to the sentiment of the people on every question on which 
he has had any special influence. 

If you can tell me anything as to your relations with our Govern- 
ment, and as to the probabilities of what will happen when your 
Congress meets, I shall be glad to hear from you. I hope all your 
affairs may turn out more favorably than you now seem to antici- 
pate. . . . 

John Bright. 

Rochdale, January 11, 1866. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — This note will introduce to you Mr. H. 
Yates Thompson of Liverpool — one of our Liberal, though for the 
time unsuccessful candidates for South Lancashire at the recent 
general election. 

Mr. Thompson has always been a firm friend of your great cause, 
and he has now a scheme on foot, by an act of pecuniary liberality 
on his part, which if carried into effect will do much to bring all 
that is good in America before the notice of the most cultivated 
class in this country. I am sure you will have pleasure in making 
Mr. Thompson's acquaintance. I hope he will not be away in case 
of another election, which I suspect is not far off . . . . 

John Bright. 

Rochdale, July 3, 1866. 
My dear Mr. Sumner, — Your letter of May 23d [21?] 2 is very 
interesting, tho' its contents are not cheering. Your Cabinet pro- 
1 The forecast proved correct. 2 Pierce, iv. 288. ^ 

191 2.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 149 

claim themselves in harmony with the President. Some of them 
cannot be honest, unless they retain office in the hope of preventing 
bad from becoming worse. The "Amendment of the Constitution" 
seems reasonable and satisfactory, and I think I recollect something 
said by the President some months ago which indicated that his 
view was in accordance with it, but now he condemns it. I suspect 
he is unwilling to consent to anything which comes from Congress. 
I suppose he cannot prevent the " Amendment" from being adopted, 
if the States are willing to accept it. I hope Congress and people 
may stand firm, and that the President may have to yield. He will 
probably be obstinate till the fall elections determine the will of the 
nation, and then, if against him, he will give way. Your anecdote 
of Mr. Seward and the small Republic is something wonderful. Our 
dear friend Cobden had an unfavorable opinion of Mr. Seward, and 
I sometimes thought him unjust to him, but I now begin to think he 
was right. 

Our people are not thinking much of America now. Our. Minis- 
terial crisis and the Franchise Bill, and the German war, fill our 
minds for the time. Lord Derby is making up a Cabinet, but he 
advances very slowly if at all, and I shall not be surprised if he should 
fail. The Traitors from the Whig camp will not join him, and without 
them he has no chance of a majority in the House of Commons, and 
therefore his Government cannot live long. Three days hence the 
result of- his labors will be known, and he will be Prime Minister, 
or Lord Russell will come back. 

There is a great feeling against him, and last night, a meeting 
50,000 strong was held in Trafalgar square (Charing Cross) to pro- 
test against him, and to demand Reform. 

I am much disappointed at the result of the session — but success 
here only comes after much effort and long agitation. 

As to the war, all our people are for neutrality, and I think neither 
party of our rulers will venture to meddle in the strife. This shews 
that we have made a revolution in opinion within a few years past, 
and is a result of the labors of my lamented friend and myself 

We are annoyed at your still increasing tariff duties. My firm send 
carpets to New York, and I suppose the duties and expenses are 
equal now to seventy-five per cent on the cost of the goods here. 
Surely this is protection enough for your carpet manufacturers! 
But the appetite of monopoly is insatiable with you, as it once was 
with us. 

I am not out of health, — indeed I have been very well of late, 
and do not now work hard. I am anxious you should run away 


from work for a time, 'and I wish your affairs were less pressing 
upon you. It is curious to see the Times become a Presidential 
hack! 1 . . . 

John Bright. 

Private. Rochdale, August 16, 1866. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — The late tidings from your seat of Govern- 
ment seem to force me to write to you. I refer to the violent language 
of some of your "Radicals," when they charge upon the President 
the desperate intention of playing the game of a coup oVetat during 
the recess. Your politicians are accustomed to language much more 
violent than that we indulge in, but I can hardly think eminent men 
would thus speak unless they had some shade of foundation for their 
charges or their fears. 2 

I see that Mr. Raymond speaks or writes in a tone which is calcu- 
lated to excite distrust and that Mr. Seward is said to have uttered 
words of significant menace. Mr. Raymond is doing the work of the 
President, with some feelings of doubt, I suspect, and Mr. Seward is 
misreported or he speaks as I think he often does without meaning 
literally what he says. I am unhappy at what is passing among you. 
The contentions and mutual abuse of some of your leading men, 
the favor shewn by some of them, and by the House to the Fenians, 
and the contest between the President and the Congress, are matters, 
in your present condition, which rather alarm some of your friends 
on this side. I dare say we see, or hear, or read the worst of it in the 
New York papers, and the storm may be no storm at all. Still, I 
wish some of the symptoms were absent, and that reconciliation 
were more the order of the day. 

Besides the great political interest we take in your well doing, we 
have also a great commercial interest, and I suspect that the threats 
which are uttered by the contending parties, if carried much far- 
ther, will have the effect of lessening faith in the value of your se- 
curities in England and in Europe. 

You are near some elections of great importance, and I suppose 
it is to influence these that so much favor is shewn to the Fenians. 
If the elections go in favor of the Republicans, perhaps the President 
may become more moderate; but I think he is very obstinate, and 
that want of success may make him more so. I am sorry to see an 

1 Pierce, iv. 297. On August 14 the National Union Convention assembled in 
Philadelphia, and Raymond prepared the "address," which cost him the confi- 
dence of the Republican party. Maverick, Henry J. Raymond, 170. 

2 Sumner's views on President Johnson were given in an address at Music 
Hall, Boston, October 2, 1866, on "The One Man Power vs. Congress." Works, 
xi. 1. 

1912.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 151 

attempt made to lessen the force of your neutrality laws. You should, 
as heretofore, set us an example of something better, instead of com- 
ing down to our level. You, as a nation, are so great and so secure, 
that you can do what is great and noble, and help the world onward, 
as no other nation can. Our change of Government is very unsat- 
isfactory, but it cannot last long I think. The Tory party is so 
stupid, that its leaders cannot so conduct the Government as to 
content the nation. We may have a lively time in the winter, and 
in the session of 1867. 1 

Our financial condition is not good, but I hope better days are 
coming. We have unfavorable harvest weather, and much rain has 
fallen during the last three weeks. How long will your great pros- 
perity last? Wise men here say you cannot be far from a commercial 
crisis. But you disappoint the wise, and the prophetic, and I hope 
you may long do so. 

Tell me if your health is better. I hope it is. I am idle at home 
and feel weary of strife in the political field. . . . 

John Bright. 

The telegraph is a greater marvel than the world seems to consider 
it. I rejoice greatly in its success. Cyrus Field is one of the heroes 
of our time. 

Private. Rochdale, December 14, 1866. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — The postscript of your last letter interested 
me much. I had seen that you had recently lost your Mother, and 
now you are about to "settle in life," — not so early as many do. 2 
But I will hope, as I believe, it will add to your happiness, without 
lessening your usefulness. My wife sometimes complains reasonably 
that my public life interferes with domestic comfort; but she is com- 
pensated to some extent by the belief that my public labors have a 
great purpose and are not wholly without result. I hope Mrs. Sumner 
may have her consolation in the same way, if she is ever disposed to 
complain. I wish you every happiness as you will believe. 

The result of your elections gave me much pleasure. Whether the 
President will become more rational time only will prove. I earnestly 
hope he may, for his own sake, and for that of the South and of the 
whole country. I do not believe in violence. That would ruin him 
and his friends forever, and the North hereafter would shew less 
mercy than in their past conduct to the South. I hope there will 

1 Pierce, rv. 298. 

2 Mrs. Charles Pinckney Sumner (Relief Jacob) died June 15, 1866. Sumner 
married,- October 17, Alice Mason Hooper, the widowed daughter-in-law of 
Samuel Hooper of Massachusetts. 


be no attempt at impeachment. It should not be made and fail. 
That would break up your party and do great mischief, and to suc- 
ceed would involve you again in something little short of war. I 
think by a quiet but resolute course you will succeed, and as the Pres- 
ident's term runs on or out he will have less power and you may 
carry all you wish, without the tremendous risk which would attend 
any attempt to depose him or to punish him. I give this opinion 
with great deference; but looking on from here, it seems to me to 
be a sound one. I doubt if General Butler is a wise adviser on this 
question; he has his grievances, and may be influenced in a direction 
too stern by what he has suffered. 

The Mexican question is near its solution. The lesson taught 
to the French Emperor is a severe but a salutary one. He must 
feel it most acutely, as do doubtless the French people. Every 
thing said andi done against you during the war tells now to your 

Our "Derby Government" would gladly do something to make 
things smooth with you, but I do not see how they can settle the 
Alabama claims after what they did and said during the commission 
of the outrages on your commerce. Their party is not a reasonable 
party, and they can stir in this matter only with great difficulty. 
Ireland is giving great trouble as is usual — not in England only, 
but with you and in Canada. I think your Government ought to 
be able to curb the Fenians with a stronger hand. Perhaps they 
are too many, and public opinion may not allow of any severe dealing 
with them. If the Irish in America are now " Americans," they should 
submit to their new Government and adopt its policy; if they are 
still Irish and not Americans, then this Government should be at 
liberty to deal with them when it meets with them. Canada is 
innocent in the matter of Irish wrongs, and should not suffer for 
what is done here. If I were a Canadian I should consider if it were 
not better to escape these injuries by separating from England. 
There is a talk here that the "Head-centre" is coming to Ireland 
and a "rising" is expected by many people. I do not believe in it, 
and I am not certain the Government is not making the alarm for 
purposes of their own. I think the "Derby" party are capable of 
much that is evil, and I think no good of them after so many 
years' experience. 

Our reform question advances, and many think we are near some 
considerable gain. I am not so sure of it. The ruling class here is 
very powerful, and it has a large hold on the middle ranks of society. 
It has the two Houses of Parliament, the Land, the Universities, the 
Church, the Army and Navy, the sympathies of rich people, and an- 
cient custom in its favor, and it is difficult to contend against all 

1912.J BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 153 

this. I am the mouthpiece of the real reform party, and no single 
man of striking power as a speaker has come out during this autumn 
to help me. Without me, there might have been great meetings, 
but the case of the unenfranchised, apparently, would not have been 
sustained with force and success from the platforms. 

I have been " Attorney General" for the reform feeling, and es- 
pecially for the working men, and the facts and arguments brought 
forward have been such as almost to silence a hostile and bitter 
press — not to put an end to their malignant abuse of me, but of 
their attempt to argue the question. The Cabinet are trying to 
cook something for the coming session, but I am not sure they can 
agree about anything that will look decent enough to be offered to 
the country. They have discussions also on the question of esti- 
mates. I believe the Army and Navy departments are asking for 
more money — to which Disraeli is opposed. He knows that the 
present waste is something fearful and he feels that a larger expendi- 
ture would be unpopular and lay him open to assaults from Glad- 
stone and from our side of the House. If the Derby Government were 
composed of honorable men, it would break up before Parliament 
meets, and indeed it would not have been in existence at this moment. 
But the love of office, and of what the party can get from office, will 
probably drive them to many tricks and dodges before they will 

Lord Russell and Mr. Gladstone are not yet home from the Con- 
tinent. I think they should be here, if they intend to lead the Lib- 
eral party to anything better than the past. Lord Russell is old, 
and I think he has not strength to control colleagues from whom he 
may not be able to separate himself, and Mr. Gladstone has great 
difficulties in trying to keep well with the "great families" who are 
essential to his success as a minister, and with the great popular 
power without which a liberal minister cannot exist at all. 

We are in a transition state; but whether we shall slide gently, or 
stand still now, to go some day with an unpleasant and perilous 
speed, I cannot tell you. My speech a week ago in London has 
caused some criticism. I always speak what I feel and what I 
mean. I should fail miserably if I attempted anything but this. I 
shall watch the opening of Congress with deep interest, and our 
session may prove a very lively one. . . . 

John Bright. 

Private. Rochdale, October 26, 1867. 

My dear Mr. Sumner, — I have often been anxious since the 
receipt of your last letter, for it left you with an opinion that I 
confess I did not think you could entertain. 


I refer to your support of the course taken by Mr. Seward in the 
correspondence with Lord Stanley on the Alabama claims. 

If I am correct, what Mr. Seward professes to want is this, — 
that the whole course and conduct of the English Government during 
your war should be brought into Court and be adjudicated on by 
some selected tribunal. 

Not only the harm done you by the ships built here, but the in- 
jury you sustained by the mistake of our Government in believing 
that you could not conquer the South, is to be estimated and com- 
pensated for. If its conduct in regard to the admission of the bellig- 
erent rights of the South is to be considered and condemned and 
atoned for, then what will you allow for its service rendered to you 
in refusing the repeated applications of Louis Napoleon to take a 
more decided course and to acknowledge the independence of the 
Slaveholding State? 

I have always condemned the act of our Government in regard to 
the question of belligerent rights. I thought it unnecessary at the 
time, ungracious and unfriendly, and calculated to irritate and to 
injure you, and I have said this in Parliament and out of it; but I 
have never seen any conclusive argument to show that it was a 
breach of international law, or a course which our Government was 
not entitled legally to take under the circumstances. It was a foolish 
act, an unfriendly act, at the moment an unnecessary act, and it 
was done at a bad time and in a bad manner, and for all this you had 
reason to feel irritated and aggrieved; but to me it seems a matter 
wholly different from the Alabama question, in which I fear and be- 
lieve there was a distinct breach of a well-known international law, 
and one which is capable of proof, and where the damage inflicted 
can be fairly valued. 

Who can estimate the harm done you by the admission of the 
belligerent rights of the South? What compensation can be 
adjudged for it, and how can it be reckoned in dollars or pounds 

An opinion was held which was erroneous; upon it, an act was 
done which was precipitate and injurious, but which, I conceive, was 
within the competency of any European Government. I condemn 
the act as strongly as you do, but I cannot believe that any existing 
government in the world would consent that its conduct in such a 
matter should be put to reference, or that it would consent to pay 
money, or to make an apology for having done what it had a legal 
right to do. 

To all Englishmen, I believe, there arises a suspicion that Mr. 
Seward is playing with a serious question, or that he wishes to be 
revenged for the part taken by our Government during the war. 

igi2.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 1 55 

There is a general approval here of Lord Stanley's course in offering 
a reference with regard to the ships, but I have not heard of any 
one person who thinks our Government can concede what Mr. 
Seward is understood to demand. I have said nothing of this ques- 
tion in public and probably shall say nothing, but I am compelled to 
say to you that I think you will put yourselves in the wrong before 
the world in refusing an agreement based upon a reference on the 
question as to the damages done by the ships which were fitted out 
in this Country. Beyond this I think our Government will not go, 
and in their decision I believe they will be sustained by the whole 
public opinion of the nation. 

Leaving this troublesome question, we may agree better as to what 
is doing with you and with us. Your elections have not ended as I 
could have wished, but I hope they may leave you in power long 
enough to settle the great question on hand. What a measureless 
calamity it has been to you to have chosen a Vice-President 
not thoroughly at one with the northern sentiment! I believe 
Mr. Johnson hates New England and everything connected 
with it as bitterly as any Southern man in the country. His 
time is running out and he cannot well ruin the country within a 

I do not believe in his employment of force against the Congress, 
or in the submission of Congress to him; but I can imagine the 
difficulties and the dangers of the coming year. Your choice of a 
candidate too must be made, and in this there will be no small 
difficulty. I seem to shrink from forming any opinion as to your 
future, and am driven back upon my ancient faith that somehow 
you will wade, or plunge, or scramble, or fight your way, thro' all 
the perils which are before you. 

Here we are in a quiet state. The Tories disporting themselves 
as reformers and democrats, flattering the "working men," and 
trying to make capital out of their late surrender of their old prin- 
ciples. It is a ludicrous, but still a shameful exhibition, and I look 
on and wonder at it. 

We are to have a short session about the Abyssinia business — 
another blunder of our Foreign Office, as I suspect it will turn out. 
The real session will not begin till February, and what will happen 
then is beyond my ken. 

When you have half an hour of leisure, tell me what will happen 
with you: if the impeachment is given up; if any compromise is 
possible with your Copperhead President; if you can agree on a 
candidate for the next term; if reconstruction is possible in any 
way; if, having conquered in the field, you are to be conquered in 


I often think of you with much anxiety and wish I could have an 
evening's long talk with you. But the Atlantic is between us and 
I fear is likely to be so. . . . 

John Bright. 

Rochdale, January 11, 1868. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — I am constantly asked whether your 
Government will repudiate and pay the five-twenty bonds in 

We are holders to some extent in these bonds, and the moderate 
marriage portion of my daughter is in them, so I am interested in 
the question. 

This doubt arises from the talk of some of your public men — 
General Butler and Mr. Stevens and others — and the doubt is not 
cleared up by some report from Senator Sherman, the precise mean- 
ing of which I do not understand. 

I think a little more foolish talk about it may make a panic, and 
your bonds may be knocked over in our market, and in the present 
state of commercial and financial affairs in New York this might do 
much mischief. 

May I ask you to write me a note to say what is certain in the mat- 
ter, if what is certain can be known. If it is not certain the bonds 
will be paid in gold, on which understanding, without any contest, 
the money was borrowed, then the sooner I am out of them the 

If there be doubt about it, I shall lose faith in them, and shall 
grieve over the loss of reputation which your great country will 

I shall treat your reply in strict confidence. 

I see some of the Democrats go for "Pendleton and repudiation;" 
this is consistent if not honest, and I almost hope they may hoist 
this on their party flag. They cannot win with it, I feel certain. 

I hope to write to you soon on your last letter and on Mr. Seward's 
views. I am not quite sure that we are writing on the same thing. 

I look to our coming session with some anxiety. I fear there is 
no one able to deal with the Irish question. 

Forgive the trouble I give you with this. . . . 

John Bright. 

Private. Rochdale, March 7, 1868. 

My dear Mr. Sumner, — I must just thank you for your kind 
attention to the case of the soldier. His father the old clergyman in 

1912.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 1 57 

Manchester is very grateful to you, and he has sent me a letter from 
the young man expressing his gratitude towards you and me for 
the help we have given him. 

Next, I must refer to your letter of the 4th ult. on the repudiation 
question, on which I grieve to think that you are only able to speak 
in an uncertain manner. To break faith with those who lent you 
money in the time of your trouble will unite all the world in condem- 
nation of you, and will be a losing policy after all; for you must bor- 
row in some shape to pay off those whose debt you will partly re- 
pudiate and in future nobody in Europe will trust you, and all your 
securities of every kind will suffer some taint. 

It is melancholy to think how many acts of want of faith are com- 
mitted by individuals and governments, but it is pitiful to see such 
acts done for no adequate result. In your case I think it could be 
proved that the ultimate loss in money and in character would be 
far greater than any gain that can possibly be made by breaking 
faith with the holders of your five-twenty bonds. 

Now for the Claims. There was a discussion last night in our 
House of Commons on this old topic. I was not there, in fact, I 
have no wish to say anything in public upon it. All that was said 
seems to have been in a very fair and friendly spirit. 

There seems to me to be some misapprehension on the point on 
which the negociation has been suspended, and also upon what I 
have said upon it. If Mr. Seward proposes to arbitrate upon the 
legal right of this Government to admit the belligerent rights of the 
South and to ask the arbitrator to condemn the act of this Govern- 
ment in that matter, and to order an apology for it, or some compen- 
sation in respect of it, then I think Mr. Seward's proposition is one 
which no Government could for a moment listen to. I believe in 
the legal right of this Government to do what it did, tho' I wholly 
condemn the act itself, and I think you have great reason to complain 
of it as unfriendly and injurious; but I cannot admit that it is a 
matter fit for reference, or for compensation, however injurious you 
may think it has been to you. 

But if Mr. Seward asks that in the discussion of the "claims" 
before an arbitrator, he shall be at liberty to shew that the ac- 
knowledgment of belligerent rights enabled English sailors, without 
the risk of being hanged as pirates, to engage in war against you 
under the Confederate flag, and that it is a proof of the unfriendly 
spirit of this Government, under which it afterwards permitted 
armed ships to be built and to sail from our ports, then I think the 
demand of Mr. Seward is not unreasonable and that it ought to be 
granted, and this I think is the general feeling here. 


Your claim is or was a claim for compensation for injuries sustained 
by your shipping from armed vessels which sailed from English ports. 
If it could be shewn that our Government had done its duty in at- 
tempting to prevent the building and sailing of such ships then the 
arbitrator would award no compensation. In this case, clearly, I 
presume, he would not be asked to consider the " Queen's proclama- 
tion" with a view to its condemnation, or to any award of compensa- 
tion in respect of it. 

If the "proclamation" stood by itself, and had not been followed 
by the Alabama, you might have considered it unfriendly, but you 
would not have demanded or suggested an "arbitration" upon it. 
The Alabama case is the one ground on which you make a claim 
for compensation, and it is only in support of that claim that you 
have any title to bring the "recognition" question before the ar- 
bitrator. I agree with you that the "recognition" having taken 
place, this Government was the more bound to be careful that its 
own municipal law was not broken, and that the well-known require- 
ments of international law were observed. 

I would consent to have all the facts brought before the tribunal, 
in order that the decision on the "claims" might be complete and 
conclusive. Let the "proclamation" strengthen your case if it can 
do so, I mean the case you have against us in respect of the Alabama 
and other ships; but don't ask us to refer that which no arbitrator 
is competent to decide, and on which he could award no compensa- 
tion to the complaining party. 

From Mr. Seward's withdrawal from the negociations, it begins 
to be thought here by some that he is not unwilling to have the ques- 
tion kept open, and by others that he has no great confidence that 
he could obtain a verdict in the case. I confess I am somewhat in- 
clined to this latter opinion. I think you were grossly wronged, 
and that you may reasonably claim compensation; but I have never 
felt great confidence that you would succeed in getting it before any 
tribunal to which the case is likely to be referred. 

After all, I learn what you doubtless know, that Mr. Seward has 
not wholly withdrawn from the question, altho' he professes to have 
given up "arbitration." / am sorry he is not more direct and explicit. 
I am sure there is a general desire here in public and with our min- 
isters and statesmen to meet the question fairly, not from fear of 
war, but from a feeling that, partly from mistake and ignorance and 
passion, we did you wrong during your great troubles, and from a 
wish that our wrong-doing may, to some extent, be forgotten or 
atoned for. 

I do not know that I can do anything in this matter, but if you 

1912.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 159 

think I can, I shall be glad to say or do anything that may smooth 
the way to a satisfactory adjustment. 

We have a new Prime Minister, as you will have seen. 1 I think 
he cannot last long; but to be Prime Minister is to him the "summum 
bonum" of his adventurous life. It is another and final proof of the 
decrepitude of the aristocratic and territorial class with us! 

As to your progressing revolution, what shall I say? We cannot 
well judge here; but it is wonderful that your Government securities 
remain unshaken whilst your Congress and Executive are almost 
at open war! There does not seem to be much distrust of you tho' 
you menace repudiation and the dethronement of your President at 
the same time. 

I lament Mr. Johnson's obstinacy and folly. He seems resolved 
to have his name in your history, placed alongside that of Mr. 
Buchanan, when he might have stood at least next after Washington 
and Lincoln! 

The world will probably think he cannot have a fair trial before 
the Senate, but there is no other possible tribunal. How is his power 
to be checked or suspended during the trial, or even after it, if con- 
victed? I suspect he will require to be forcibly suspended or removed, 
and that his obstinacy will make him resist up to the very last. I 
wish it had not come to this — as doubtless every thoughtful man 
among you wishes. I suppose the Senate will not sanction McClel- 
lan's appointment to London. 2 Is it a plan to get him away from 
the Presidential canvass — or to give him a position which may im- 
prove his candidature? 

I think Mr. Adams is anxious to go home — all parties here wish 
him to stay. . . . 

John Bright. 

Private. Rochdale, August 1, 1868. 

My dear Mr, Sumner, — It is long since I wrote to you, but I 
have not ceased to observe what is doing on your side of the water. 
For some weeks past I have been "horrified" at the rumour that 
Mr. Chase was not only willing but hungry to become the Presiden- 
tial candidate of the Democratic party! From your newspapers I 

1 Disraeli, who became the head of the Government in February, Lord Derby- 
having resigned on account of his health. 

2 The nomination was made February 21, and on the same day the removal 
of Secretary Stanton from office was announced. Unfavorable action of the 
Senate on the nomination was early indicated, but the impeachment trial of the 
President monopolized attention until the end of the month. On June 8 the Sen- 
ate Committee on Foreign Affairs reported adversely, and on June 12 Reverdy 
Johnson received his commission. See Welles, Diary, 111. 257; The Nation, vi. 165. 


am compelled to believe that the rumour was and is true, and I can 
assure you that I have heard nothing more sad for a long time. If 
I had been sufficiently intimate with Mr. Chase to have justified 
any interference on my part, I should have written to him to have 
warned him of the bottomless pit to which the devil of ambition 
was said to be leading him. I have spoken on the subject to some 
Americans here, and have said, if he succeeds he will be discredited, 
if he fails he will be ruined. He has now failed and I cannot see how 
he can retain any place in the confidence of the Republican party. If 
I were asked to join Disraeli's Cabinet, and were to accept it, where 
should I be in the estimation of all my friends of the Liberal party in 
England? Just where, I suppose, Mr. Chase is now with your Re- 
publican party. After all, what a devil is this ambition ! Lord S to well 
said that "it breaks the ties of blood and forgets the obligations of 
gratitude;" but it does much more; for it devours whatever there is 
that is noble in men, and it blinds them strangely even in the pursuit 
of its own ends. 

There have been rumours too that Mr. Adams was not unwilling 
to throw in his lot with the same Party; but this I cannot believe, 
altho' I dare say his close friendship with Mr. Seward has somewhat 
cooled his sympathy with your friends. His judgment whilst in 
England has been impartial and sagacious and I should grieve if he 
made any false step in his public career. 

I conclude that Mr. Seymour is not likely to be elected — the 
repudiation scheme of the party ought to be fatal to it. 

I know not how the question of the "claims" is. going on between 
Lord Stanley and Mr. Seward, but I suppose it will rest awhile and be 
settled in some wholesale mode of getting rid of all matters in dispute. 

When you are electing your President, we shall be electing our 
Parliament. We shall have a great contest; from all I hear and see, 
I think we shall have a substantial and probably a large majority. 
The "church cry" is no more successful than the "no popery" cry, 
and the Irish church has few friends outside the old Tory party. In 
Ireland it is considered to be "as good as gone," and its doom is 
thought even by its friends to be decided. The coming Parliament 
will I believe confirm the decision of the one which is about to be 

I spoke at a dinner in Birmingham last week, and ventured a crit- 
icism on your system of changing all your officials on a change of 
party in the Government. I expressed the opinion that our system 
was much better, but in some other matters, as in your disposition 
to reduce your armaments and military expenditure, we might follow 
you with great advantage. 

From what I hear from your side, I conclude that the South is 

191 2.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 161 

becoming more settled and is slowly beginning to recover from the 
effects of the war. We are deeply concerned in this; for our great 
cotton trade is terribly damaged by the fluctuations in the price of 
cotton, and they cannot cease so long as you can only grow two to 
two and one-half millions of bales in the year. 

I am weary with our session of Parliament, as you doubtless are in 
your long labors at Washington. There is hard work in public life; 
but there is some compensation when we see that good principles 
and good measures make progress in the midst of so much weakness 
and so much baseness among men. We have had a very hot season, 
scarcely any rain for three months past. . . . 

John Bright. 

Confidential. Rochdale, December 25, 1868. 

My dear Mr. Sumner, — A short letter which you wrote to me 
in August last only reached me a few days ago. It had remained 
at the Reform Club since I left town at the end of the session. It 
is strange that the London papers should care so little about the 
course taken by their American correspondents. I do not know that 
I can do anything to bring about a change. 

You will have seen the result of our elections, as I have seen that 
of yours. To me our victory has been very costly, for it has forced 
me from my independent to an official position. 1 I was much op- 
posed to accepting office, but the strain put upon me was too great 
and I was compelled to surrender. If you happen to see the English 
newspapers of Tuesday last, December 22, you will see my election 
speech at Birmingham, with an honest explanation of what occurred 
at the formation of this Government. I must do the best I can, and 
hope that what I have done may turn out to be the right thing. 

And now about your affairs. Your election gave me great pleasure 
and I suspect your present President's last message must make 
every man in your country rejoice that his ignoble reign is nearly 
at an end. 

Your minister here seems to have caused much disappointment 
with you, and he has caused me some of the same feeling. The gen- 
eral impression here is that he has spoken more than was necessary, 
and that he need not have accepted invitations to meet Laird, and 
Roebuck and Wharncliffe. I incline to think however that he came 
resolved to forget all the past, and honestly most anxious to renew 
or restore the old friendship. I think that he has acted injudiciously, 
having regard to opinion, not on this side, but on your side the 

1 He became President of the Board of Trade. 


I dined with him at Birmingham, and have seen him since in 
London. I think him most wishful to restore harmony between the 
Governments and the nations, and I have formed a favorable opinion 
of him from what I have seen of him in private. I shall be very sorry 
if he is unable to complete the work on or for which he was sent to 

I wish to speak to you about this attempted negociation. I sus- 
pect neither your Minister nor ours understands what is really the 
position and the intention of Mr. Seward. 

Lord Stanley seems to me to have yielded everything that could 
reasonably be asked. He consented that all the correspondence, in- 
cluding that touching the "belligerent rights" question, should be 
placed before the Commissioners; all the matters of complaint and 
in dispute being left with them. Mr. Seward then asked for the Com- 
mission to sit at Washington and not in London, and then all would 
be well. Lord Stanley agreed to this. 

Since then Mr. Seward has proposed several other changes in the 
convention. He wishes to begin with a protocol rather than a con- 
vention, and he suggests a mode of reference in case the commis- 
sioners cannot agree which may exclude a "crowned head" or "head 
of state," and which is a mode of drawing lots or playing at what we 
call "toss up" for the appointment of the umpire! The impression 
here is that he does not want the matter settled, or that he feels 
his position in the Senate so feeble that he dare not bring any arrange- 
ment which is possible for him before that body with any chance of 

So far as I understand it, what our Government wants is this — 
that the claims connected with the Alabama, involving an important 
principle, in which all nations are interested, should be referred, if 
referred at all, to the "head" of some independent state — whether 
a monarch or a republican head — and not to any less important 
umpire, in order that the decision, when given, may be accepted 
by the world as one given from a high source and carrying with it 
the greatest possible weight. If the commissioners cannot decide 
the question, which is likely to be the case, they wish to have the 
best umpire the world can give, and they think the "head of a state " 
with the assistance he can have, will be the best. I think if Mr. 
Seward is in earnest, there can be no difficulty in the matter. Sup- 
pose the commissioners do not agree as to the claims; they refer to 
their respective Governments. Suppose the Governments cannot 
agree whether Russia or Prussia or Holland or Switzerland or Portu- 
gal or Brazil shall be umpire — surely they could agree that some one 
of these should select an umpire to whom the matter before the com- 
missioners should be finally referred? 

191 2.] BRIGHT-SUMNER LETTERS, 1861-1872. 163 

If Mr. Seward can settle the matter, let it be done by some simple 
and clear proposition; if he cannot, if he fears the judgment of the 
Senate, and the popular outcry against Mr. Reverdy Johnson, then 
the matter had better remain open till your new President is in office. 
I am quite sure our Foreign Minister is willing to do anything that 
is reasonable, as are his colleagues; but it is a little beyond the 
bounds of ordinary practice, for your Secretary of State to insist 
on new propositions after so many concessions have been made, 
and after your Minister here is supposed to have been entirely sat- 
isfied. There is no disposition here on the part of the Government 
or the people to place difficulties in the way of a settlement; but, 
condemning as I do the course taken by our Government during 
your war, I could not advise them to stoop unworthily to procure an 
adjustment of the points in dispute between the two countries. I 
am sure our Government is willing to grant whatever any just and 
impartial Government would advise to be right in the case; but 
there is no need to submit to humiliation in the manner of doing it. 

I am writing to you confidentially, having, as you know, no preju- 
dice in favor of this country on the matter we are discussing. I 
wish the right thing to be done and in the right way, and I think 
it may be done, unless Mr. Seward is anxious to throw over his 
Minister here, and to postpone the settlement owing to difficulties 
which he may not have foreseen. 

If you can say anything to me which may explain the cause of 
the present obstacles to further progress in the negociation, I shall 
be very glad. You may write freely to me, as I write to you. Our 
views are much alike and our objects are precisely the same. I have 
been intending to write to you for some weeks on this matter, but I 
seem to have neither time to write nor think for a month past. I 
hope you will read my speech at Birmingham on Monday last, for 
it gives some explanations which I like my friends to understand 
for my own sake. . . . 

John Bright. 

I desired my publisher to send you a copy of the two volumes of 
my speeches which came out in September. A second edition is just 
now advertised. 

Taynuilt by Inveraray, N. B., August 10, 1871. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — I have been ill and "on the shelf" since 
the beginning of last year and have written few letters, and have 
been compelled to shun all business. 

I write this note as I wish to give it to one of my friends who is 
about to visit the States. Mr. Thos. A. Potter, the bearer of this, 


is the son of my friend Mr. T. B. Potter, M.P. I need not tell you 
of his father's services here during your great conflict. I believe 
he spent more money, and I may almost say that he worked harder, 
than any other Englishman, to give sound opinions to our people 
on the subject of your war. 

Mr. T. A. Potter visits America for the purpose of instruction. I 
wish every Englishman could visit you. 

If you can in any way make his visit useful and pleasant, you will 
confer a favor on me. 

I am wandering in Scotland for my health's sake. I am very much 
better, and hope by the end of the year to be able to return to work 
— tho' I feel as if my work were nearly done. . . . 

John Bright. 

Queen's Hotel, Glasgow, September 17, 1872. 

Dear Mr. Sumner, — I have just reached this city, and find 
from the newspapers that you are in London. I am sorry I am not 
likely to be at home for nearly a month to come, or I should ask 
you to come down to Rochdale to stay with us as long as it might 
suit you to stay. I suppose you will not be returning to the States 
for some time — the papers say not before November. If that be 
so I may hope to see you, and I hope you will come on your way to 
Liverpool if no earlier date will be convenient for you. 

I should much like a quiet evening with you, and a talk over what 
is doing on your side of the water. You will be glad, as I am, that 
the long dispute is disposed of, so far as arbitration can dispose of it. 

My address for a week or ten days will, I expect, be Taynuilt, by 
Inveraray, N. B.; but a letter addressed to me at Rochdale will be 
immediately forwarded. 

I hope you are not really out of health. You will find it a relief 
to be away from home at this moment if you are as weary of the 
turmoil of elections as I have long been. ... 

John Bright. 

Mr. Wendell supplies the following document from the 
Rindge Papers : 1 

Benjamin Pollard of Boston in the County of Suffolk within His 
Majesty's Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England 
Notary Publick upon solemn Oath declareth, That on the Twenty 
sixth day of Decern 1 " instant, at the Request, and by the direction 
of George Jaffrey, Jotham Odiorne, Theodore Atkinson, Andrew 
Wiggin, Thomas Pecker and James Jaffrey all of His Majestys 

1 Proceedings, xliv. 189. 


Province of New Hampshire Esq rs being a Committee appointed to 
attend on behalf of the said last mention'd Province upon His Maj- 
estys Commissioners for setling the Boundary Lines between the two 
aforesaid Provinces, he serv'd His Excell[enc]y Jon a Belcher Esq r 
Governour of the aforesaid Provinces with an order of His Majesty in 
Councill, a true Copy whereof is hereunto annexed by delivering the 
same to him at the Province House in said Boston, under the Seal 
of His Majestys Councill Office, and leaving it with him and that he 
this Declarant at the same time deliver'd and left with His s d Excel- 
lency a Paper Writing, a true Copy whereof is hereunto annexed 
which said Paper Writing was annexed to the aforesaid Order of His 
Majesty in Councill with a small piece of red Ribbon, and is entituled 
an Account of the Costs of the Commission under the broad Seal ap- 
pointing Commissioners to settle the Boundary Lines between His 
Majestys Province of New Hampshire, and the Massachusetts Bay, 
and the Expences of the Commissioners in executing the same and, 
at the same time acquainted His Excellency with the Purport of the 
said Accounts. And this Declarant further saith that on the next 
day following his said Excellency sent for him to the aforesaid 
Province House, and this Declarant thereupon waited on His Ex- 
cell y to know His Pleasure and his said Excell y told the Declarant 
That he could not find in His Majestys Order which he had left with 
him the day before that any notice was taken of an Account tacked 
to it or that any Account at all was taken Notice of in it, upon which 
His Excellency took out of his Desk His Majestys Order, and Ac- 
count aforesaid, and with a Pair of Scissers separated the Account 
from the Order, saying that it was no better than forgery, and that 
a man in England guilty of such a thing would be tryed for Forgery, 
and that for his own part he would Cut of his right hand before he 
would be guilty of tacking any thing to the Kings order. Where- 
upon this Declarant told His Excellency that he tacked the Account 
to His Majestys Order by the direction of said Committee; but that 
it was not done with any design of Forgery, or to affront His Excel- 
lency but in consequence of the Paragraph in His Majestys Order, 
directing the Expence of the aforesaid Commission to be equally 
borne by the two Provinces, and that his Excellency might lay the 
Account before the Generall Court of the Province of the Massachu- 
setts Bay then sitting. His Excellency then said, the Province of 
the Massachusetts Bay had an Account against the Province of 
New Hampshire, of Thirty Six hundred Pounds, and when that was 
added to the New Hampshire Account it would by being equally 
divided bring New Hampshire in Debt near Twelve hundred 
Pounds, so that they had better be easy, and let it alone, but if they 


were determined to deliver the Account to him they ought to apply 
to the Gov r in a proper manner for he would not receive it so, and 
thereupon thrust said Account into the Declarants hands. And this 
Declarant further saith that after the Account was so sever'd, and 
put into his hands by His Excellency this Declarant said May it 
please Y'r Excell'y as I am the Agent of the New Hampshire Com- 
mittee in this Affair I now deliver the Account to Y r Excellency in 
their behalf sever'd from His Majestys aforesaid Order, and there- 
upon offer'd to deliver it to his Excellency but he refused to take it 
and said he did not know what the Gov r had to do with it at all for 
the Affair of the Expence lay with the Committees of both Provinces 
and Lastly This Declarant saith that in the aforesaid Discourse 
with His Excellency, His Excellency told him that he had some 
months before receiv'd a Copy of His Majestys aforesaid Order from 
England. And further this Declarant saith not. 

Benjamin Pollard. 
Boston, DecF 30th, 1740. 

Boston, January 12th, 1740. 
Suffolk Sc. 

Mr. Benjamin Pollard appearing before me the Subscriber 
One of His Majestys Justices of the Peace for the County afore- 
said and made Oath to the truth of the above Declaration by 
him subscribed. 

Joshua Winslow. 1 

Remarks were made during the meeting by Messrs. Sanborn 
and Hart. 

1 The paper also bears the following memorandum in pencil: "Given by Mrs. 
Mary Sheafe Israel to James Rindge Stanwood, March 8, 1885." 







John Fiske died at the Hawthorne Inn, East Gloucester, 
Massachusetts, on July 4, 1901. He had been in his usual 
health until a few days previous, when a spell of great heat 
began to tell upon him. As his exhaustion became alarming, he 
was taken to Gloucester by boat on July 3, but it was too late. 

John Fiske's name was originally Edmund Fiske Green, and 
he was born at Hartford, Connecticut, March 30, 1842, the 
son of Edmund Brewster and Mary (Fiske) Green. After his 
father's death, his name was changed to John Fiske, the name 
of his mother's grandfather. Mrs. Green married, in 1855, 
Edwin W. Stoughton, who was later American Minister to 
Russia. The boy's childhood and youth were spent chiefly in 
Middletown, Connecticut. He fitted for college at H. M. 
Colton's school there, at Betts Academy, Stamford, and in 
Cambridge with Andrew T. Bates. 

From infancy he showed remarkable precocity. At seven he 
had read a large part of Caesar, and was reading Rollin, Jose- 
phus, and Goldsmith's " History of Greece." Before he was 
nine he had read nearly all of Shakespeare, and much of Milton, 
Bunyan and Pope. He began Greek at nine. By eleven he 
had read Gibbon, Robertson and Prescott, and most of Frois- 
sart, and he wrote from memory a chronological table from 
b. c. 1000 to A. d. 1820, filling a quarto blank book of sixty 
pages. "At twelve," to quote from an account he once gave 
of his youth, "he had read most of the Collectanea Graeca Ma- 
jora, by the aid of a Greek-Latin dictionary, an& the next year 
had read the whole of Virgil, Horace, Tacitus, Sallust and Sue- 


tonius, and much of Livy, Cicero, Ovid, Catullus and Juvenal. 
At the same time he had gone through Euclid, plane and spheri- 
cal trigonometry, surveying and navigation, and analytic geom- 
etry, and was well advanced in differential calculus. At fifteen 
he could read Plato and Herodotus at sight, and was begin- 
ning German. Within the next year he was keeping his diary 
in Spanish, and was reading French, Italian, and Portuguese. 
He began Hebrew at seventeen, and took up Sanskrit the next 
year, Meanwhile he was delving also in science, getting his 
knowledge from books and not from the laboratory or the 
field. He averaged twelve hours' study daily, twelve months 
in the year, before he was sixteen, and afterwards nearly fifteen 
hours daily, working with persistent energy; yet he main- 
tained the most robust health, and entered with enthusiasm 
into out-of-door life." 

He joined the Sophomore Class at Harvard in i860, and grad- 
uated with honor in 1863. Then he studied at the Law School, 
taking his LL.B. in 1865; he was admitted to the Suffolk bar 
June 11, 1864, and had an office in Boston from February 1 
till October 1, 1865. While waiting for clients he read history 
voraciously, and soon decided to make literature his profession. 
As early as 1861, while he was a Junior at Harvard, he con- 
tributed to the National Quarterly Review an article entitled 
"Mr. Buckle's Fallacies," which is now included in his Dar- 
winism and Other Essays. This is one of the most remark- 
ably mature productions by a youth under twenty in English, 
and it gave him an immediate reputation. . 

Fiske soon abandoned the law to devote himself to study and 
writing. He was one of the earliest of his generation to explore 
and embrace with enthusiasm the new doctrines in science and 
philosophy which had the theory of evolution for their basis. 
Comte, Spencer and Darwin became his masters. He wrote a 
series of articles on Positivism which the New York World 
published and paid for, — an event which can hardly be regarded 
as possible in the present state of metropolitan journalism. 

His first book, which was preceded by many essays in re- 
views, magazines and newspapers, was Myths and Myth-Makers, 
published in 1872. This was followed in 1874 by a work which 
at once attracted wide attention, — Outlines of Cosmic Phi- 
losophy, based upon a series of lectures which he had delivered 

1912.] JOHN FISKE. 169 

at Harvard in 1869 and 187 1, and which he repeated in Boston, 
New York and London. It was a singularly lucid exposition 
of the philosophy of evolution, and won for him the intimate 
personal friendship of Darwin, Spencer and Huxley. After 
reading this book Darwin wrote to him, "I never in my life 
read so lucid an expositor (and therefore thinker) as you are." 
At about this time Fiske made a journey to England, where he 
had a cordial welcome from men of science and historians. He 
returned with reputation enhanced, and with plans for half a 
dozen large works in his mind. Until 1879, however, though 
he wrote and studied industriously, he was hovering from one 
subject to another. In that year his appointment as assistant 
librarian of the Harvard Library ceased, and he was forced to 
look for some other means of securing a livelihood. Fortu- 
nately Mrs. Mary Hemenway, of Boston, had conceived the 
idea of stimulating the patriotism of the younger generation by 
providing courses of popular lectures on American History, and, 
knowing Fiske 's ability, she invited him to assist in this under- 
taking. Thus began the sphere of activity — American His- 
tory — in which he busied himself during the rest of his life. 
His course of lectures in the Old South Church led to lecture 
engagements in all parts of the country. 

The long list of Fiske 's works includes The Discovery of 
America, The Critical Period of American History, The Begin- 
nings of New England, Civil Government in the United States, 
The War of Independence, The American Revolution, Old Vir- 
ginia and her Neighbors, The Dutch and Quaker Colonies, A 
History of the American People, Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy 
Based on the Doctrine of Evolution, Myths and Myth-Makers, 
Tobacco and Alcohol, The Unseen World, Darwinism and Other 
Essays, Excursions of an Evolutionist, The Destiny of Man Viewed 
in the Light of his Origin, The Idea of God as Affected by 
Modern Knowledge, Through Nature to God, American Political 
Ideas Viewed from the Standpoint of Universal History, The 
Mississippi Valley in the Civil War, New France and New Eng- 
land, and Essays Historical and Literary. Besides these books, 
he was the author of innumerable pamphlets and magazine 
articles, and he did an unusual amount of literary drudgery. 
He wrote a school history of the United States, and with J. G. 
Wilson he edited Appleton's Cyclopcedia of American Biography. 



At the time of his death he had engaged to write a systematic 
History of America, in eight or more volumes. 

It will be seen that these works fall under three great classes 
of subjects, — scientific, historical and philosophical. It was 
as the interpreter and popularizer of the doctrines of evolution 
that Fiske first made his mark, and until about 1880 his most 
important work was done in this field. Then he turned his at- 
tention to writing history, and this was henceforth his real 
vocation. It is no exaggeration to say that more than any one 
else he helped to put an end to the time when American history 
was the abomination of every schoolboy, the disgust of every 
collegian, and the aversion of the general reader. Thanks to 
the charm of his style, the lucidity of his presentation, the un- 
erringness with which he seized on facts of vital human interest, 
and his geniality, he lifted American history to the highest 
point in popular favor. He proposed to cover in his way the 
whole era from Columbus to the Civil War, but, like Parkman, 
he wrote by topics and not chronologically, going back to fill 
gaps as his fancy moved him. It is to be regretted that some 
of these gaps he left unfilled. His method was to use his chap- 
ters as lectures, a process which enabled him not only to test 
them critically in many moods himself, but also to observe their 
effect on various audiences. After he had sufficiently tested 
them, he cast them into final shape for printing. 

This is not the place for a critical survey of Fiske's rank as 
a historian; but I may remark that the underestimate which 
some of the teachers of history made upon him during his life- 
time is gradually being corrected. He suffered from the dis- 
advantage of producing narrative history at a time when docu- 
mentation and textual criticism were regarded as the proper, 
if not the only legitimate, province of the historian. He was 
master of an unusually lucid style, at a time when to write so 
as to interest the general cultivated reader was to incur the 
suspicion or even the rebuke of those who could not write, but 
who set the fashion in historiography. He supplied few foot- 
notes, therefore he must be superficial. He was " popular," 
therefore he could be no scholar: for " popularity " was the 
final reach of turpitude. 

During the past decade, however, a more liberal view of 
historical writing has gradually come in, until now it is possible 

191 2.] JOHN FISKE. 171 

to do justice to John Fiske's remarkable talents and achieve- 
ment. As a clear and magnetic narrator he had no superior 
among his American contemporaries, most of whom followed 
German models while his were French. The piecemeal character 
of his writing, which resulted in his treating American history 
by topics or sections instead of chronologically, inevitably 
deprived the collected volumes of that fused and consistent 
quality which belongs to the masterpieces. On the other hand, 
the fact that each section forms an independent whole has 
assured to it a much wider reading. 

More than a dozen years before he died, Fiske gave this ac- 
count of his historical undertaking: "When John Richard 
Green was planning his Short History of the English People, and 
he and I were friends in London, I heard him telling about his 
scheme. I thought it would be a very nice thing to do something 
of the same sort for American history. But when I took it up 
I found myself, instead of carrying it out in that way, dwelling 
upon special points; and insensibly, without any volition on 
my part, I suppose, it has been rather taking the shape of sepa- 
rate monographs." The writer (presumably Horace E. Scudder) 
of the brief biographical sketch of Fiske (prefixed to his War of 
Independence) , from which this and other facts in this sketch 
are borrowed, adds that it was the preparation of six lectures 
on American History, delivered in 1879 at the Old South Meeting 
House, Boston, that finally determined him to pursue this sub- 
ject. Of his way of mastering a historical theme, he said: "I 
look it up or investigate it, and then write an essay or a lecture 
on the subject. That serves as a preliminary statement, either 
of a large subject or of special points. It is a help to me to make 
a statement of the kind — I mean in the lecture or essay form. 
In fact, it always assists me to try to state the case. I never 
publish anything after this first statement, but generally keep 
it with me for, it may be, some years, and possibly return to it 
again several times." 

Fiske's philosophical works — using the word in a broad 
sense — were the summing up of life as it appeared to his power- 
ful mind, after experience had mellowed and reflection had for- 
mulated or corrected. So his Idea of God, The Destiny of Man 
and Through Nature to God lack the polemical and dogmatic 
vigor of his earlier writings on evolution, but they are rich in 


wisdom, and a large spirit breathes through them, making them 
models of their kind. 

For many years John Fiske was unquestionably the most 
popular lecturer on serious subjects in the United States. Year 
after year he delivered annually more than one hundred lectures, 
and he had frequently addressed equally enthusiastic audiences 
in Great Britain. He had lectured before the Royal Institution 
in London and the Philosophical Institution at Edinburgh; 
and in the summer of 1901 he was to deliver at Winchester, 
England, the chief address at the millennial celebration of Alfred 
the Great. His manner on the platform was simple; he had 
none of the arts of the elocutionist; he even lacked a sympathetic 
voice. And yet he held his hearers from first to last, not once 
only, but season after season. The cause is not far to seek, — 
he invariably had something to say, and he said it simply, with 
downright veracity, and with a lucidity which appealed to every 
eager mind. 

John Fiske's official relations with Harvard University were 
desultory: he had not the temperament to work ploddingly, 
nor to observe the fixed hours for exercises that have to be ob- 
served in an institution whose primary object is teaching. In 
1870 he was for a few months instructor in History, having 
previously (1869) been appointed University Lecturer for one 
year. From 1872 to 1879 he was assistant librarian, bridging 
the critical period in the development of the Harvard Library 
during the last part of Sibley's regime and the beginning of 
Justin Winsor's. From 1895 to 1897 he was again a lecturer on 
a special appointment, and it was during one of these winters 
that he delivered his course on the ''Mississippi Valley in the 
Civil War." His last public service to the University was when, 
a few months before his death, he gave the Ingersoll Lecture 
on Human Immortality. He was Overseer from 1879 to 1891, 
and was elected a third time in 1899. In 1884 he was made 
non-resident professor of American History in Washington 
University, St. Louis, Missouri, an appointment which involved 
the delivery of a course of lectures each year, but which left him 
otherwise greater freedom than most professors enjoy. Harvard 
conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws on him in 1894, and in 
the same year the University of Pennsylvania made him a 
Doctor of Letters. He was a member of the Massachusetts 

191 2.J JOHN FISKE. 1 73 

Historical Society, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts 
and Sciences, and an active or a corresponding member of many 
other societies. 

We may safely say that no other American man of letters, or 
indeed scholar, has equalled Fiske in the variety of his learning 
and in his mastery of it. Merely as a linguist, his attainments 
were extraordinary; besides English, he used Greek, Latin, 
French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Dutch, Danish, 
Swedish, Icelandic, Gothic, Roumanian, Russian, Hebrew, 
Chaldee and Sanskrit. His reading embraced not only a vast 
number of historical works, but the best works in all literatures, 
ancient and modern. He had explored the great currents of 
philosophy, and he had what men cf letters have usually lacked, 
a real talent for science, whether as an investigator, a generalizer 
or an interpreter. His own contribution to the theory of evolu- 
tion — the demonstration of the importance of the prolongation 
of infancy in the human young — showed his ability as a dis- 
coverer in science. He was a prodigious worker, but not a 
worker by schedule. On occasion, he would write ten or twelve 
hours at a sitting. A lover of music, he sang, and played both 
the piano and the violin. When he was fifteen without a master 
he learned to play on the piano such a work as Mozart's Twelfth 
Mass; later he studied the science of music, and composed a 
mass and songs. He delighted in amateur gardening. 

In 1884 Fiske replied characteristically as follows to an in- 
quirer regarding his methods of work: 

I am forty-two years old, six feet in height, girth of chest forty- 
six inches, waist forty-four inches, head twenty-four inches, neck 
eighteen inches, arm sixteen inches, weight two hundred and forty 
pounds, complexion florid, hair auburn, beard red. Am alert and 
active, appetite voracious, sleep sound. I work by day or night in- 
differently. My method, like General Grant's, is to "keep hammer- 
ing." I sometimes make an outline first. Scarcely ever change a 
word once written. Very seldom taste coffee or wine, or smoke a 
cigar. But I drink beer freely (two or three quarts daily for the past 
twenty-four years), and smoke tobacco in a meerschaum pipe 
nearly all the time when at work. Have been in the habit of working 
from twelve to fifteen hours daily since I was twelve years old. 
Never have a headache, or physical discomfort of any sort. I prefer 
to work in a cold room, 55 to 6o° F. Always sit in a draft when I 
can find one. Wear the thinnest clothes I can find, both in winter 


and summer. Catch cold once in three or four years, but not severely. 
Never experienced the feeling of disinclination for work, and there- 
fore have never had to force myself. If I feel at all dull when at 
work, I restore myself by a half -hour at the piano. 1 

Even in so brief a sketch as this, mention should be made of 
two of Fiske's marked characteristics — his approachableness 
and his devotion to his friends. He was hail-fellow-well-met 
with everybody, but most of all with children. His friendships 
included not only distinguished men, like Huxley and Parkman, 
both of whom he commemorated in beautiful essays, but others 
less celebrated but not less dear, like Professor Youmans, whose 
biography he wrote, and cronies to whom he dedicated many of 
his books. 

In stature John Fiske was tall, fully six feet, and after forty 
he grew so stout, weighing nearly 300 pounds, that he tersely 
described his dimensions as "72 X 56 inches." Of light com- 
plexion, with curly reddish beard and grizzled hair, his large 
spectacles and not mobile features suggested the stolid German 
professor; but a few minutes' conversation revealed him as he 
was, — responsive, penetrating, almost boyish in his frankness, 
the least self-conscious of celebrities, the most unpedantic of 
great scholars. He took a deep interest in public affairs, al- 
though he never participated in them. By temperament an in- 
dependent and a liberal, he joined the Mugwump seceders in 
1884. Toward the end of his life he accepted the presidency 
of the Anti-Immigration League, because he felt that we had 
gone too far in admitting undesirable foreigners to the United 
States. Although he disapproved of the Spanish War, he 
acquiesced in its results; at least he detached himself from 
the Anti-Imperialists, with whom he had first sympathized. 

On September 4, 1864, Fiske married Miss Abby M. Brooks, 
of Petersham, by whom he had six children. For many years 
his home was at No. 22 Berkeley Street, Cambridge; he usually 
spent his summers at Petersham, and there he is buried. 

1 This letter, dated July 19, 1884, was written to Dr. H. Erichsen. The 
original is in the collection of Grenville H. Norcross. 



THE stated meeting was held on Thursday, the 14th in- 
stant, at three o'clock, p. m. ; the President, Mr. Adams, 
in the chair. 

The record of the last meeting was read and approved; and 
the Corresponding Secretary, in the absence of the Librarian, 
reported the list of donors to the Library since the last meeting. 

The Cabinet-Keeper reported the gift, from the estate of 
Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Young, of eight photographs and en- 
gravings; and of a photograph of a portrait-sketch of Martha 
Washington, drawn by Alexander Hamilton, the original 
being in the papers of Baron Von Closen, of Rochambeau's 

The Editor announced the Bradford, History of New Ply- 
mouth, for early publication. 

Governor Long read the following paper: 

The Civil War. 

Northern sentiment has steadily grown more tolerant 
towards the Southern States in the matter of the civil war 
of half a century ago. Mr. Rhodes' finely impartial history, 
the oration on General Lee by our President, Mr. Adams, the 
recent studies of Southern leaders by Mr. Bradford, are all 
indications and accompaniments, more perhaps than causes, 
of this increasingly liberal spirit. 

Guess is not history, though history is sometimes not much 
better than guess. And recalling those secession days I have 
at times been interested in guessing whether the Southern 
Confederacy would not have stood a better chance of success 
by non-resistance than by fighting.. You cannot make much 
impression on a bag of feathers by striking it. Could the 
North have subdued the South if there had been nothing to 
strike and no resistance to overcome? Such are our constitu- 


tional limitations that non-resistance, paradoxical as it may 
seem, would probably have been irresistible. 

Suppose that South Carolina had made no attempt to secure 
Fort Sumter; that all the United States forts, arsenals and 
public buildings in the South had been simply let alone; that the 
Confederate Union of the Southern States had been organized 
as it was, its Confederate officials chosen, post-offices and 
custom houses of its own established, and the United States 
quietly told that it might run its machine and the Confederates 
would run theirs. Under the overwhelming pressure of local 
public sentiment, every United States postmaster in the South, 
every custom-house official, every federal judge and marshal, 
as well as scores of army and navy officers would have resigned. 
If the United States had attempted to enforce its authority 
by legal process, no jury could have been found to convict 
any Southern man accused of an offence against the laws of the 
United States. Trials would have had to be in the vicinity, 
that is, in the respective Southern States. The South keeping 
the peace, no sufficient ground for sending an army into it 
would have existed, and the suggestion of such action would 
have run against what in that case would have been the very 
strong and probably controlling conservative opinion of the 
North, and would have awakened sympathy and caused a 
reaction of feeling. Horace Greeley's advice that the Separat- 
ing Sisters be let go would have had many and an increasing 
number of followers. The Democratic party, instead of being 
almost entirely shifted from its proslavery and Southern sym- 
pathies by the firing on Sumter and by the military prepa- 
rations of the South, would have continued shouting the old 
constitutional arguments of Calhoun, Hayne and Jeff. Davis. 
Military leaders like Generals Butler and Sickles and Logan, 
and all the great mass of citizens of whom they were typical, 
also a large part of the conservative Whig element, the whole 
Tammany organization, and many of the commercial interests 
which were imperilled by the prospective loss of trade, all these 
would have been reluctant if not resolutely refusing to sanction 
the invasion of an unresisting State by a federal army. No 
Harvard or other college student would have been fired with 
patriotic ardor. Concession to the South or compromise with 
it would probably have ensued or, if not that, Greeley's com- 

191 2.] THE CIVIL WAR 1 77 

plete acquiescence in its separation would have stood a chance 
to materialize. And masterly inactivity, or in short the being 
simply a bag of feathers, yielding if struck but at once resum- 
ing its place unhurt, might have accomplished what four years 
of bloody war with its final utter impoverishment failed to 

However it must be admitted that such a policy was practi- 
cally impossible. It would have been as easy to stop a hurri- 
cane with a mosquito netting as to stay that fiery outburst of 
the Southern spirit. But it is interesting to speculate on what 
might have been. 

As one result of this later more liberal sentiment towards 
the South, the conflict is no longer regarded as so much a 
rebellion as a civil war. Will not that be the final historic 
verdict? The grim verdict of war has now finally and forever 
settled the constitutional question, but in 1 860-61 there was 
very great weight in the Southern view as stated by Jeff. Davis. 
Admitting that nullification was indefensible, he clearly dis- 
tinguished it from secession, which he claimed was a State's 
reserved right which had never been surrendered to the federal 
government by an express delegation of power. There is little 
doubt that in the earlier days of the government it was the 
accepted opinion that the federal government had no power 
to coerce a State and that each original State had a sovereign 
right to withdraw from the Union. That thoroughgoing Federa- 
list Timothy Pickering, then a senator, and Josiah Quincy, 
arguing in Congress against the admission of Louisiana, recog- 
nized the right of dismemberment. Even Alexander Hamilton, 
the great centralizationist, said that "to coerce a state is one 
of the maddest projects ever devised." The Hartford Con- 
vention of New Englanders in 18 14 evidently had no doubt of 
its own justification, if its proceedings should result in the 
dismemberment of the Union. It is not improbable that at 
that date the Supreme Court would have recognized the 
federal constitution as a compact, as Massachusetts did in 
express terms when ratifying its adoption, and would have 
strictly construed the constitutional provision that all powers 
not expressly delegated to the federal government are reserved 
to the States, and would have held that, as no power is ex- 
pressly so delegated to coerce a State to remain in the Union, 



no such power exists. Had one of the members of the Hart- 
ford Convention been arrested for treason, is there any doubt 
that he would have been acquitted, and that, if he had been 
defended by the godlike Daniel, the latter would have made 
as convincing a constitutional argument for his client as some 
fifteen years later he made against nullification in his epochal 
and unanswerable reply to Hayne ? Nullification was of course 
a very different thing from secession, which is practically only 
another name for revolution. And the right of revolution and 
of taking the chances of being hung for treason, if it turns 
out unsuccessful, neither Webster nor anybody else denied, to 
say nothing of Calhoun's argument that it was reserved state 
rights under the Constitution. If these early constitutional 
views were then correct, rebellion is hardly the term to apply 
to a withdrawal from the Union. No wonder that that amia- 
ble old public functionary, James Buchanan, was bewildered. 

Was the war therefore not justified? Was the splendid out- 
pouring by the North of its blood and treasure not justified? 
By no means. Whether or not it was rebellion, it was war — a 
war precipitated by the South. Had the South been content 
with the policy of masterly inactivity to which I have referred, 
it would at least have stood a better chance of success; but 
when it went further and fired its guns on Sumter and the 
national troops in it, sought to prevent the movement of United 
States vessels to carry them relief, and took possession of 
United States property, the South gave the same cause for 
war that any foreign nation would have given by the same 
course of action. Many an international war has started from 
slighter causes. It only needed this spark to set the whole 
North afire. The South in its desperation had struck us on the 
cheek, and we turned not the other but struck back. Then it 
became war, simply war, international war if it pleased the 
South to consider it so, though, on that theory of its own, the 
exercise by Lincoln of war powers, his emancipation proclama- 
tion, and Sumner's theory of treating the defeated Confederate 
States as conquered territory become more easy of defence. 
But it was a war which in fact, whatever the theory, the North 
at once recognized as a war for union, freedom and human rights 
— war of which Mrs. Howe's verses were the battle hymn; 
and then came that melting of all the old parties into patriotic 


blend as far as the national integrity was at stake. Then came 
that splendid outpouring of the blood and treasure of the North, 
that glow of patriotism which swept like a flame over the whole 
land, that chivalrous giving of youth and life itself to a holy 
cause, and that loyal appeal to arms in which you, Mr. Presi- 
dent, did the soldier's part and earned the military title by which 
we who have known you longest still delight to call you. 

Dr. Allen read a paper on 

State Navies and Privateers in the Revolution. 

During the Revolution the Americans carried on hostilities 
at sea in three classes of vessels: first, Continental vessels; 
second, the state navies; third, privateers, commissioned either 
by the Continental Congress or by the various states, and in 
some cases by both. Public vessels cruising under Continental 
authority comprised not only the Continental navy, strictly 
speaking, including vessels fitted out in France, but also the 
fleets organized by Washington in Massachusetts Bay in 1775, 
and later in New York; by Arnold on Lake Champlain in 1776; 
and by Oliver Pollock in 1778 on the Mississippi River. The 
fleets of Washington and Arnold were manned by the army 
and took an active part in the military campaigns of the first 
two years of the war, the operations in Massachusetts Bay 
being designed to render more nearly complete the investment 
of Boston, at that time besieged by the American army. 

In the beginning there was strong opposition to the partici- 
pation of the Continental government in naval affairs. Mari- 
time enterprise was looked upon as a matter of local defence, 
and to many it appeared sheer madness to send ships out upon 
the sea to meet the overwhelming naval force of the enemy. 
This feeling, together with the sentiment of local independence 
and the loose federation of the colonies, united only for mutual 
protection, naturally led to the establishment of separate small 
navies by most of the states, supplemented by privateers; the 
needs of local defence moreover were too urgent to wait for the 
deliberations of the Continental Congress. Many public men, 
however, believed a national naval force essential, and their 
views prevailed; so there grew up side by side three distinct 


classes of naval service. Elbridge Gerry wrote from Water- 
town, October 9, 1775, to Samuel Adams at Philadelphia: "If 
the Continent should fit out a heavy ship or two and increase 
them as circumstances shall admit, the Colonies large privateers, 
and individuals small ones, surely we may soon expect to see 
the coast clear of cutters." * 

Eleven of the thirteen states maintained armed vessels, 
New Jersey and Delaware being the exceptions. At the outset 
naval administration in the various states was generally in 
charge of the Committee of Safety, and later, of the state execu- 
tive or of a board which had under its care naval affairs alone 
or in combination with military affairs. The state navies varied 
much in size and force. Being used chiefly for coast defence, 
the vessels were usually smaller than those of the Continental 
navy, and many of them were merely boats and galleys adapted 
for operating in shallow waters. Some of the state ships, how- 
ever, were ocean cruisers of considerable size and force. 2 

The first American armed vessels commissioned by any 
public authority were two sloops fitted out by Rhode Island, 
June 15, 1775. The people of this colony had been annoyed 
by the British frigate Rose, cruising in Narragansett Bay. 
These sloops immediately went to sea under the command of 
Abraham Whipple, and on the same day, June 15, chased 
ashore and destroyed a tender of the Rose. 3 One of the sloops, 
the Katy, was subsequently taken into the Continental service 
under the name Providence. The state of Rhode Island after- 
wards kept a small force cruising in the bay. 

In the course of the war the Massachusetts navy comprised 
fifteen sea-going vessels and one galley. The Provincial Con- 
gress of Massachusetts, after some ineffectual attempts in 
June, 1775, to provide for armed vessels, made a beginning 
August 21 by taking two small vessels from Machias into the 
service of the colony. The actual establishment of a state 
navy, however, came in the following winter, when a committee 
was appointed, December 29, "to consider and report a plan 
for fitting out Armed Vessels for the defence of American 

1 American Archives, Series IV. 111. 993. 

2 For the state navies, see Paullin, Navy of the American Revolution, ch. xi.-xvii. 

3 Boston Gazette, July 3, 1775; American Archives, Ser. IV. 11. 1118; British 
Admiralty Records, Admirals' Despatches, 485, June 18, 1775; Historical Magazine, 
April, 1868; Field, Life of Esek Hopkins, 63-67. 


Liberty." * In decisive action looking towards a naval force 
Connecticut preceded Massachusetts. Early in July, 1775, two 
vessels were provided for and in August they were purchased. 
A valuable prize was taken in October. Connecticut fitted out 
twelve vessels during the war, four of them galleys. 2 

Pennsylvania began, July 6, 1775, by providing for the de- 
fence of the Delaware River by means of boats and galleys. 
The Pennsylvania navy consisted of about ten vessels and nearly 
thirty boats and galleys for river and bay protection. The fleet 
was under the command of a commodore, and performed its 
most notable service in the valiant though unsuccessful de- 
fence of the Delaware River against Admiral Howe's fleet after 
the occupation of Philadelphia by General Howe in 1777. 3 
As regards the two remaining northern states, New York's 
naval enterprise was confined to organizing a small fleet in 
1776, for local defence. The early occupation by the British 
of New York city and the adjacent waters prevented any 
further operations. 4 New Hampshire voted in 1776 to build a 
galley and appointed a committee to procure an armed vessel. 
After this her whole naval activity, aside from encouraging 
privateering and setting up a prize court, consisted in fitting 
out a twenty-two-gun ship for temporary service in 1779. 5 

The Virginia navy, authorized by the Provincial Convention 
in December, 1775, comprised first and last seventy- two ves- 
sels of all classes including many ships, brigs and schooners; 
but apparently most of them were small, poorly manned and 
lightly armed, and were used largely for commerce. The naval 
duties of the fleet were confined mostly to Chesapeake Bay. 6 
Maryland shared with Virginia the defence of Chesapeake Bay, 

1 Journal Third Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, June 7, 11, 13, 20, 1775; 
Records of General Court of Mass., December 29, 1775, January 11, February 7, 
8, 17, April 20, 1776; Paullin, ch. xi. 

8 Papers New London Hist. Soc, Part IV. I. (1893), 34; American Archives, 
Ser. IV. in. 264-266; Paullin, ch. xii. 

3 American Archives, Ser. IV. 111. 495, 510, 511, 858, 862, 1811, 1820, 1836, 
1839; IV - 5 I 5> 5 2I 5 Penn. Archives, 2d Series, vol. 1.; Wallace, Life of William 
Bradford; Paullin, ch. xiii. 

4 Journal Prov. Congress of New York, 1. 228, 349; American Archives, Ser. IV. 
v. 1401, 1450. 

5 lb., 10, 15, 17, 24; Paullin, ch. xvii. 

6 Southern Literary Messenger, January, 1857; American Archives, Ser. IV. rv. 
114, 866, v. 227, vi. 1598; Paullin, ch. xiv. 


and in addition to one vessel of some size and force, main- 
tained a considerable fleet of galleys, boats and barges. 1 The 
chief concern of North Carolina was to protect and keep open 
Ocracoke Inlet, connecting Pamlico Sound with the ocean, 
through which an important part of the commerce, not only 
of North Carolina but of Virginia, was carried on. A small 
fleet for this purpose was stationed in the sounds. 2 Georgia's 
navy was small and unimportant, consisting mostly of galleys. 
A schooner, however, was commissioned as early as June, 1775. 3 

The defence of Charleston required a considerable force and 
South Carolina was among the first states to begin the organiza- 
tion of one. She appears to have had a navy of about fifteen 
sea-going vessels, some of them larger and more heavily armed 
than any other state or Continental ships. The force also 
included several galleys. The ships of South Carolina cruised 
more at sea than those of any other state except Massachusetts 
and perhaps Connecticut. In 1778 four of them sailed with 
the Continental frigate Randolph on a cruise which ended in 
the loss of the frigate. In 1780 the state purchased two large 
ships from France for the defence of Charleston, but they 
seem to have accomplished little and were sunk in the Cooper 
River for the obstruction of the channel. In 1782 the state 
navy was reinforced by a powerful forty-gun ship called the 
South Carolina. This vessel had been originally built at Am- 
sterdam for the Continental navy, but owing to international 
complications involving the neutrality of Holland she had been 
sold to the king of France and eventually passed into the service 
of the state of South Carolina. Her achievements were com- 
paratively unimportant. She took part in a Spanish expedition 
from Havana which captured the island of New Providence, 
for the third time during the Revolution. Not long afterwards 
the South Carolina was herself captured by a British squadron. 4 

Of all the state navies that of Massachusetts did the most 
ocean cruising. Although Massachusetts Bay was frequently 
visited by British ships, the harbors of Boston and other towns 

1 American Archives, Ser. IV. v. 1509, 15 10. 

2 American Archives, Ser. IV. v. 1357, 1363. 

3 Paullin, ch. xvi. for Georgia, Maryland and North Carolina. 

4 American Archives, Ser. IV. m. 180, iv. 45~54; Penn. Gazette, March 5, 
June 4, October 19, 1782; Paullin, ch. xv. 


in the state were generally clear of the enemy after March, 
1776. Owing to the British occupation, a great part of the 
time, of Newport, New York, Philadelphia and Charleston, 
and their blockade of Delaware and Chesapeake Bays, and to 
other circumstances, those places were less available, and con- 
sequently Boston became by far the most important naval 
port of the Revolutionists. Six vessels were built in 1776, of 
which the brigantines Tyrannicide and Massachusetts and sloop 
Freedom rendered the most important service. These three 
vessels visited Europe in 1777, taking several prizes during the 
passage. Other and larger ships were added to the navy in 
later years. On account of losses there were never more than 
three or four vessels in service at any one time after 1776. 

The attention of the Massachusetts General Court and Board 
of War in naval matters was directed chiefly to cruises off the 
coast of New England and Nova Scotia and on the Banks of 
Newfoundland and to voyages to France and the West Indies, 
of which several were made. The objects of these voyages were 
both naval and commercial. August 5, 1777, the Board of 
War instructed Captain Fisk of the brig Massachusetts, which 
had returned from France two weeks before, to cruise in the 
track of homeward bound West Indiamen and "to use your 
utmost Endeavours to take, burn, sink and destroy all armed 
and other Vessels, together with their Cargoes, belonging to 
the Subjects of the King of Great Britain, Enemies to the 
United States of America and the natural Rights of Mankind." 1 
The next day the Massachusetts Council adopted the follow- 
ing measure: "Whereas our Enemies have several small Cruisers 
upon this Coast, and even in Boston Bay, which have taken 
several of our Coasting Vessells and greatly Obstructed our 
Navigation; And as the Continental and State Vessels, as 
also most of the Private Vessels of War, are improper to be 
employed for Clearing the Coast of these Vermin, therefore 
Resolved, That the Board of War be and they hereby are 
directed, without Delay, to take such Measures for taking or 
destroying all such Cruisers as aforesaid, as they shall judge 
most proper." 2 

1 Mass. Archives, cli. 426. 

2 lb., Revolutionary Rolls, xliv. 268. 


In 1779 came the disastrous Penobscot Expedition. The 
Massachusetts navy consisted of three vessels only at that time, 
the brigs Tyrannicide, Hazard and Active, and all three were 
lost in Penobscot Bay, as well as twelve privateers temporarily 
in the service of the state and many other vessels. The Massa- 
chusetts navy therefore was for the time being without a cruis- 
ing ship, but there was then under construction the largest 
ship in the state's service, a frigate of twenty-six guns called 
the Protector. Two other vessels were provided for in 1780. 

The Protector, under the command of Captain John Foster 
Williams, sailed on a cruise to the eastward in the spring of 
1780 and on June 7 fell in with the British letter of marque 
Admiral Duff, of thirty- two guns. One of the hardest fought 
engagements of the war then followed which lasted an hour 
and a half, when the Duff took fire and blew up. The next 
year the Protector was captured by two British ships. The 
Massachusetts navy continued in existence until the end of 
the war and the last vessel, the sloop Winthrop, was cruising 
as late as June, 1783. 

The two most notable vessels of the Connecticut navy were 
the ships Defence and Oliver Cromwell. In 1776 the Defence 
cruised in Massachusetts Bay and took part in the capture of 
British transports, several of which fell into the hands of the 
Americans while running into Boston after the evacuation of 
the town. In May, 1776, Captain Seth Harding of the Connecti- 
cut navy, afterwards of the Continental navy, captured a num- 
ber of tories in Long Island Sound. Governor Trumbull 
acknowledged Harding's reports " communicating alarming 
intelligence of a most unnatural and traitorous combination 
among the inhabitants of this Colony. Possessed of and en- 
joying the most valuable and important privileges, to betray 
them all into the hands of our cruel oppressors is shocking and 
astonishing conduct, and evinces the deep degeneracy and 
wickedness of which mankind is capable. Have laid your 
communication before my Council. They are equally shocked 
at this horrid baseness, and will with me be ready to come into 
any proper measures to defeat and suppress this wicked con- 
spiracy to the utmost of our power; and in the mean time ap- 
prove and applaud your zeal and activity to discover and appre- 


hend any persons concerned in this blackest treason." * In 
1778 the Defence and Oliver Cromwell cruised in company and 
captured two British privateers after an hour's engagement. 
In 1779 the Defence was wrecked and the Cromwell was cap- 
tured by the British. 2 

Privateers composed a very important class of vessels em- 
ployed during the Revolution. The word privateer was used 
at that time, and later too, with the utmost disregard of its 
true meaning. Persons with an understanding of maritime 
affairs constantly spoke of Continental and state cruisers, es- 
pecially the smaller ones, as privateers. The term was often 
wrongly used even in official correspondence. It is necessary 
that lines should be sharply drawn between these different 
classes of armed vessels. Letters of marque, so called from the 
letters or commissions they carried, were armed trading vessels 
authorized to make prizes. They also were generally and more 
properly called privateers. The latter name should, strictly 
speaking, be reserved for private armed vessels carrying no 
cargo and devoted exclusively to warlike use. All kinds of 
armed vessels, however, during the Revolution, even Conti- 
nental frigates, were employed under special circumstances as 
cargo carriers. 

The General Court of Massachusetts, November i, 1775, 
passed "An Act for Encouraging the Fixing out of Armed 
Vessells, to defend the Sea Coast of America, and for Erecting 
a Court to Try and Condemn all Vessells that shall be found 
infesting the same." The Continental Congress authorized 
privateering March 23, 1776, and on April 2 and 3 adopted a 
form of commission for privateers and resolved to send copies 
in blank, signed by the President of Congress, to the various 
colonies, there to be issued to privateersmen giving bonds; a 
set of instructions for commanding officers was drafted. Sev- 
eral of the colonies or states used these Continental commissions 
altogether, not establishing state privateering; but New Hamp- 
shire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, South Carolina, 
and some of the other states issued their own commissions, 

1 American Archives, Ser. IV. vi. 503. 

2 Trumbull Mss., vm. 149; ix. 93, 95, 237; xxvi. 42, 46; Log-Book of Timothy 
Boardman (Albany, 1885), 51, 52. 



although most of them also employed those of the Congress. 
The American Commissioners in Paris and the naval agent of 
Congress in the West Indies likewise commissioned privateers. 
A rough estimate only of the total number of American 
vessels engaged in privateering on the patriotic side during the 
Revolution is possible. The Library of Congress has printed 
a list of nearly seventeen hundred letters of marque issued by 
the Continental Congress to privateers carrying, approxi- 
mately, fifteen thousand guns — probably light ones for the 
most part — and fifty-nine thousand men. After deducting 
duplicates, that is to say, in cases of two or more commissions 
being successively issued to the same vessel, and deducting 
also armed boats and galleys, there remain more than thirteen 
hundred sea-going vessels. Massachusetts issued nearly a 
thousand commissions, probably representing more than seven 
hundred different vessels, after making the same proportionate 
allowance for duplicates. Several hundred additional privateers 
must have been commissioned by other states and by the Amer- 
ican Commissioners and minister in France and the naval 
agent at Martinique. Assuming the total number of privateers 
to have been two thousand, and there were probably a good 
many more, they doubtless carried very nearly eighteen thou- 
sand guns and seventy thousand men. There seem to have been 
about the same number of British privateersmen, according to 
Governor Hutchinson, who, speaking of the difficulty of man- 
ning the British navy, says June 27, 1779: "Some have pro- 
posed pressing the crews of all privateers, in which service it 
is computed 70,000 men are employed." x Judging from the 
scanty information at hand concerning British privateering, it 
is probable that their vessels engaged in this form of warfare 
were less numerous but superior in force to the American; 
the latter seem to have carried on the average between eight 
and nine guns and less than thirty-five men, the British about 
seventeen guns and seventy-five or more men. 2 

1 Diary, n. 264. 

2 Naval Records of American Revolution (calendar), 217-495; Emmons, Statis- 
tical History of the Navy, 127; Mass. Archives, clxiv. to clxxii.; Paullin, 148, 340; 
Williams, History of Liverpool Privateers, App. iv.; London Chronicle, April 1, 29, 
1779; British Admiralty Records, Admirals' Despatches, 489, February 27, 1779; 
Diary and Letters of Thomas Hutchinson. 


Valuable service to the country was rendered by the priva- 
teers and they contributed in a large degree to the naval de- 
fence, and so to the fortunate outcome of the war. On the 
other hand the system was subject to abuses and was in many 
ways detrimental to the regular naval service. William Whipple, 
writing to Josiah Bartlett from Portsmouth, July 12, 1778, 
says: "I agree with you that the privateers have much dis- 
tressed the trade of our Enemies, but had there been no pri- 
vateers is it not probable there would have been a much larger 
number of Public Ships than has been fitted out, which might 
have distressed the Enemy nearly as much and furnished these 
States with necessaries on much better terms than they have 
been supplied by Privateers ? . . . No kind of Business can so 
effectually introduce Luxury, Extravagance and every kind of 
Dissipation, that tend to the destruction of the morals of 
people. Those who are actually engaged in it soon lose every 
Idea of right and wrong, and for want of an opportunity of 
gratifying their insatiable avarice with the property of the 
Enemies of their Country, will without the least compunction 
seize that of her Friends. . . . There is at this time 5 Privateers 
fitting out here, which I suppose will take 400 men. These 
must be by far the greater part Countrymen, for the Seamen 
are chiefly gone, and most of them in Hallifax Goal. Besides 
all this, you may depend no public ship will ever be manned 
while there is a privateer fitting out. The reason is plain: 
Those people who have the most influence with Seamen think it 
their interest to discourage the Public service, because by that 
they promote their own interest, viz., Privateering." 1 William 
Vernon, of the Navy Board at Boston, writes to John Adams, 
December 17, 1778, that the Continental ships in port a may 
sail in Three Weeks, if it was possible to get Men, wch we shall 
never be able to accomplish, unless some method is taken to 
prevent desertion, and a stopage of Private Ships Sailing, until 
our ships are Mann'd. The infamous practice of seducing our 
Men to leave the ships and taking them off at an out-Port, 
with many other base methods, will make it impossible ever 
to get our ships ready to Sail in force, or perhaps otherwise 
than single Ships." He wishes that "an Embargo upon all 

1 Historical Magazine, vi. 73. 


Private Property, whether Arm'd or Merchant ships, may take 
Place thro' all the United States, until the Fleet is compleatly 
Mann'd. . . . You can scarsely form an Idea of the increase 
and groath of the extravagance of the People in their demands 
for Labour and every Article for Sale, etc. ; dissipation has no 
bounds at present; when or where it will stop, or if a reform 
will take place, I dare not predict." 1 

A more favorable opinion of privateering was held by John 
Adams, who after an engagement of the American ship Thorn 
with two British privateers in 1779, wrote: " There has not been 
a more memorable action this war, and the feats of our Amer- 
ican frigates and privateers have not been sufficiently pub- 
lished in Europe. It would answer valuable purposes, both by 
encouraging their honest and brave hearts and by exciting 
emulations elsewhere, to give them a little more than they 
have had of the fame they have deserved. Some of the most 
skilful, determined, persevering and successful engagements 
that have ever happened upon the seas have been performed 
by American privateers against the privateers from New 
York." 2 Again, writing in 1780 to the President of Congress in 
regard to commerce destroying, Adams says: "This is a short, 
easy, and infallible method of humbling the English, preventing 
the effusion of an ocean of blood, and bringing the war to a 
conclusion. In this policy I hope our countrymen will join 
[the French and Spanish] with the utmost alacrity. Privateer- 
ing is as well understood by them as any people whatsoever; 
and it is by cutting off supplies, not by attacks, sieges, or as- 
saults, that I expect deliverance from enemies." 3 

No doubt what was then needed, as in every war, was a 
well-balanced naval force made up of a sufficient number of 
righting ships and commerce destroyers. Privateering was 
more popular than the regular naval service on account of the 
greater freedom from the restraints of military discipline and 
because the profits were larger; for privateersmen were de- 
voted almost wholly to commerce destroying and were conse- 
quently likely to take more prizes in the long run. In addition 

1 Publications R. I. Hist. Soc, vm. (1901), 256. 

2 Wharton, Diplomatic Correspondence of the Revolution, in. 650. 

3 lb., iv. 58. 


to this and besides having higher pay, the entire value of their 
prizes went to the owners and captors. When the prizes of 
Continental cruisers were ships of war, one half the proceeds 
went to the captors, and in other cases only one third. In 
October, 1776, Congress increased the shares of the captors to 
the whole and to one half the value of these two classes of 
prizes respectively, in order to put Continental vessels more 
nearly on terms of equality with privateers. Bounties and 
other inducements were resorted to for the purpose of obtaining 
recruits. 1 

Privateers were ill adapted for cruising in squadrons and 
failed in nearly all attempts at co-operation with regular ships 
or with each other. The miscarriage of the Penobscot ex- 
pedition was doubtless due in part to this cause. In 1777 a 
squadron, made up of the frigates Hancock and Boston and 
nine privateers, sailed from Boston on a cruise. As a squadron 
this assemblage of vessels amounted to nothing. With proper 
co-operation it might have constituted a force capable of 
meeting with some prospect of success any British squadron 
it was likely to fall in with. But the privateers took no part 
whatever in the cruise after the first six days. By that time 
they had all parted from the frigates, some by choice, the 
others through bad weather. The cruise resulted in the first 
serious disaster encountered by the Continental navy — the 
capture of the Hancock by a British squadron. 

By reason of delay in fitting out vessels, the loss of ships, 
and other causes, Continental officers were frequently out of 
employment in the regular navy and many of them were at 
all times serving in privateers. A large Connecticut privateer 
called the Governor Trumbull seems to have been at some 
period of the war commanded by Captain Dudley Saltonstall 
of the Continental navy. Saltonstall had been appointed in 
1776 to command the frigate Trumbull, built on the Connecti- 
cut River. Owing to a bar at the mouth of the river, this ship 
was unable to get to sea until 1779. Yet Saltonstall, in obedi- 
ence to urgent orders, went to sea in 1777, and in a letter dated 
"In sight of the Capes of Virginia, April 12, on board the Con- 

1 Journals Continental Congress, April 17, August 5, October 30, 1776, March 
29, i777 5 July 11, 1780. 


tinental ship of war Trumbull" reported the capture of two 
British transports. It is likely that, on account of the impor- 
tance of the service to be performed, a vessel was impressed, 
chartered or borrowed for the occasion, possibly the privateer 
Governor Trumbull. 1 

American privateers cruised in European waters and in the 
West Indies. These included not only vessels that had sailed 
from America but also others fitted out in France or in the 
West Indies and commissioned by the American Commission- 
ers or minister at Paris or by the naval agent at Martinique. 
The British ambassador to France complained in 1777 that 
both in France and in the French West Indies vessels were 
fitted out and manned with French sailors under American 
captains, given American commissions and then cruised 
against British commerce. If boarded by a British man-of-war 
the crews would all talk French and show French papers and 
nothing could be proved against them. 2 

It appears that most of the privateers fitted out in France 
under the command of Americans, even when owned by Ameri- 
cans, sailed under the French flag. Dunkirk seems to have 
been the home port of many if not of the greater part of these 
vessels. During the war seventy-eight Dunkirk privateers 
were commanded by Americans, six of them under American 
commissions; of these six it would appear that two only, the 
Black Prince and Black Princess, were owned by Frenchmen. 
The conduct of these privateers fitted out in France seems 
sometimes to have been much less orderly than that of Ameri- 
can ships in general. The crews were recruited from the 
heterogeneous seafaring population of the French ports and 
their commanders were not always able to control them. Re- 
spect for private property and for neutral flags was occa- 
sionally lacking. Under these circumstances it is easy to 
understand that Franklin should have been cautious about 
granting commissions to vessels so far removed from the seat 
of American authority and likely to be manned by the refuse 
of French seaports. He gave their commanders very strict 

1 Remembrancer, v. 135; Publ. R. I. Hist. Soc, vin. 212, 214, 225, 229, 231, 
256; Papers New London Hist. Soc, Pt. IV. 1. 28; Trumbull Mss., VI. 90, 96. 

2 Stevens's Facsimile Mss., No. 1548. 

1912.] THE AMERICAN NAVY, 1775-1815. 191 

orders as to their conduct. After the Black Prince and Black 
Princess had cruised about eighteen months with wonderful 
success, he recalled their commissions. He said in regard to 
them: "The prisoners brought in serve to exchange our coun- 
trymen, which makes me more willing to encourage such 
armaments, though they occasion a good deal of trouble." l 

Rear Admiral Chadwick read extracts from a paper on 

The American Navy, i 7 75-181 5. 2 

The subject I have undertaken this afternoon, a sketch of 
our earlier navy, is a very congenial one to me. I have a very 
great affection for the service to which for fifty-one years I 
have belonged, and through all these years a steadily increas- 
ing admiration for it. I thus trust I may be pardoned if I 
begin with blowing its trumpet a little. 

I look upon it as one of the greatest of professions; as the 
most powerful of the instruments of government, as the greatest 
of universities for its officers and of public schools for the 
enlisted men. It necessitates knowledge and management 
of the mightiest and most complicated of machines, the 
battle-ship, along with astronomy, steam, electricity. Added 
to those are the study of war, of strategy and tactics, diplo- 
macy and international law, for navies carry on much of the 
former and make and execute most of the latter. Finally it 
fights the country's battles on that great field of action, the 
Sea. The 50,000 enlisted men of the navy form for this coun- 
try an unequalled body for their class in discipline, character 
and efficiency. I would that every American boy could be 
passed through a four years' enlistment. He would know more 
fully than now what discipline, command and obedience, respect 
to superiors and thoughtfulness for inferiors, and sense of duty 
and obligation mean. 

1 Diplomatic Correspondence of the Revolution, in. 364, 801, rv. 26, 33; Proc. 
U. S. Naval Institute, xxxvu. (September, 191 1) 933. 

2 This paper was read before the Society of the Cincinnati at its meeting 
at Newport, Rhode Island, July 4, 191 2, and was printed in the Newport Mer- 
cury July 13. It has been revised by the writer for republication in these 


So much to define my standpoint. 

In 1769, 1770 and 1771 there were put afloat in the American 
Colonies which became the United States 359 square-rigged 
vessels, of which 299 were built north of Mason's and Dixon's 
Line, a fact showing the much greater interest of the northern 
seaboard in the carrying trade of the time. Lloyd's Register 
for 1775, comprehending the shipping of the three previous 
years, shows 3908 British-built vessels of 606,545 tons and 23 n 
of American build of 373,618 tons. This shows that at this 
period America was a good second afloat to Great Britain. The 
average size of the square-rigged ship of the time was about 
200 tons register, say roughly 400 tons displacement. Our 
trade with continental Europe was so restricted by the British 
law that the colonies could not export the more important 
articles of their produce to any part of Europe other than Great 
Britain, nor could they import anything from any part of Europe 
except through Great Britain. Such restrictions, of which 
these two facts were but part, played an important role in the 
establishment of the feeling for separation from the mother 
country. Notwithstanding such laws, there was a very con- 
siderable trade carried on with the countries of the Mediterra- 
nean. The same restrictions applied to the West India colonies, 
under other than the British flag, but in vain. The New Eng- 
landers persisted in trading with all the islands. This trade, 
it may incidentally be mentioned, was paid for largely in coin, 
so that the chief metallic currency of our country for genera- 
tions was Spanish. Some others no doubt than myself are 
here who remember the Spanish dollars, levies and fips of our 
youth, which far into the fifties were much more frequent 
than the coins of the United States. 

Thus, at the outbreak of the Revolution, the colonies were 
both extensive builders and sailers of ships. We were already 
a maritime power in so far as the carrying trade was concerned. 

On the outbreak of hostilities all the individual colonies 
except New Jersey and Delaware set up navies of their own, 
with prize courts and all the other adjuncts of sovereign author- 
ity in these matters. Each of the new states appointed its 
own officers. These navies existed throughout the war, chiefly 
as a home guard, though extensive cruises were made by some 

i 9 i2.] THE AMERICAN NAVY, 1775-1815. 193 

of the vessels, most of which were very small. Rhode Island 
was the first to act. The General Assembly on June 15, 1775, 
two days before Bunker Hill, ordered the chartering of two 
sloops and appointed Abraham Whipple to the chief command. 
There was no delay, for on the same day he captured the tender 
of the frigate Rose, the first authorized capture of the war. His 
courage and vigor caused his appointment as captain in the 
Continental navy, and he commanded the Columbus in Esek 
Hopkins' expedition in 1776 to New Providence. In 1779 as a 
privateersman he cut out ten ships from a convoy of 150. 
Eight arrived safely in Boston, where they brought over 
$1,000,000. With the four Continental ships of which he was 
commodore, he was made prisoner at the surrender of Charles- 
ton in 1780, and remained so the rest of the war. Nor can men- 
tion of Silas Talbot be omitted, whose adventures afloat while 
a captain and major in a Rhode Island regiment marked him 
out for naval service. He captured the British armed ship 
Pigot in Seaconnet River in 1778 in the most daring manner, 
and was given command of her and of the sloop Argo with which 
he made a number of important captures. After a highly suc- 
cessful career afloat for two years, he was captured by a British 
squadron in 1780, exchanged the next year and found his way 
home by 1782. His exploits caused his appointment as a 
captain when the navy was again organized after the Revolu- 
tion, and he is now remembered through a torpedo boat which 
bears his name. 

Of the state navies Massachusetts led in numbers; the only 
one of any size of her sixteen vessels, however, was the Protector 
of 26 guns. It will surprise many to know that South Carolina 
took the lead in the size and importance of the ships owned by 
a state. She lost her entire navy in the fall of Charleston in 
1780 with one exception. This loss included the Bricole pur- 
chased from France, which carried forty-four 24- and 18-pound 
guns, and was pierced for sixty. The one vessel which remained 
was the frigate Indian, which was built in 1777 at Amsterdam by 
the American commissioners. Owing to complications she was 
sold to France and was given by the king to the Chevalier de 
Luxembourg. She was "rented " by the Chevalier to a Captain 
Gillon, then abroad as South Carolina's representative, for 



one-fourth of her prizes for three years, was renamed the South 
Carolina, and provided with twenty-eight 32's and twelve 
12's. She did not get to sea until August, 1781, reached Phila- 
delphia, via Havana, on May 28, 1782, left for sea in December, 
and was captured by a British squadron after a chase of eighteen 
hours and a two-hour fight. This ship and the Bricole were 
larger than any ships of the Continental navy which got into 
service. South Carolina is still prosecuting her claims for re- 
imbursement for the ship which bore her name 130 years ago. 1 

Washington himself, while besieging Boston, and who was 
one of those who recognized the importance of an immediate 
establishment of a naval force to cut off the enemy's supplies, 
acted on his own initiative and formed a small navy and prize 
courts of his own. One of those to whom he gave a command, 
John Manley, showed himself so active and efficient that on 
Washington's recommendation he was made a captain in the 
Continental navy, where he was a valiant and able officer. 

The subject of these separate forces is admirably treated in 
Mr. Charles Oscar Paullin's work, The Navy of the American 
Revolution, a book which is devoted not to naval events, but to 
naval legislation and administration, and which thus has a par- 
ticular place of its own. I have drawn on it freely for the 
present paper, as well as, amongst others, on Mr. Edgar Stanton 
Maclay's excellent History of American Privateers. 

The first step in Congress toward the establishment of a navy 
was taken on October 3, 1775, at the instance of the Rhode 
Island delegates, who had been instructed by the General 
Assembly of the state on August 26, to bring the question of 
the establishment of a fleet before Congress. This received 
impetus by the laying before Congress, two days later, of 
information of two brigs having left England for Quebec loaded 
with arms, powder and stores. It was moved that a committee 
of three be appointed to prepare a plan to intercept these. 
Strange as it may seem the proposal was strongly opposed by 
some in Congress, as being initiatory to a Continental navy, as 
in fact it was, and it was declared by some opposed to be 
the "most wild, visionary mad project that had ever been 
imagined. It was an infant, taking a mad bull by the horns; 

1 Paullin, 435-440. 

1912.] THE AMERICAN NAVY, 1775-1815. 195 

... it would ruin the character and morals of all our seamen. 
It would make them selfish, piratical, mercenary, bent wholly 
upon plunder, etc., etc." Edward Rutledge of South Carolina 
seems, according to John Adams, to have been particularly 
vehement in opposition. However, those in favor of a navy 
carried the day, and the three men who had most strongly 
favored naval action were appointed to consider the question 
of steps to be taken. These were John Adams, of Massachu- 
setts, John Langdon of New Hampshire, and Silas Deane of 

They reported in favor of fitting out two ships, one of 10, 
the other of 14 guns, to cruise for three months to the east- 
ward for the purpose of intercepting British transports. A 
committee composed as was the first, except that the name of 
Christopher Gadsden of South Carolina replaced that of John 
Adams, was directed to estimate the cost. Their report was 
recommitted to them, and when they reported again on October 
30, 1775, it was to add two more vessels, one to mount not more 
than 20, the other not more than 36 guns, to be employed " for 
the protection and defence of the United Colonies," as a whole 
and not only for desultory capture of transports. This phrase- 
ology marks a long step forward, a step toward nationalization 
of the service. 

The committee was now increased to seven, the name of 
Adams again most fitly appearing. For throughout his life 
John Adams was a warm supporter of the policy of a powerful 
navy, and transmitted his views to his descendants, who through ' 
four generations have made illustrious a family which stands 
unique in the transmittal through so long a period of so high a 
level of intellectual power and statesmanship. They have 
throughout been powerful advocates of naval strength. Their 
history is thus most honorably interwoven with that of the naval 
service, of which John Adams must be regarded as one of the 
chief founders. The words he used in a letter dated April 28, 
1776, at Philadelphia, were justified. He said: "I have vanity 
enough to take to myself a share in the merit of the American 
navy. It was always a measure that my heart was much en- 
gaged in and I pursued it for a long time against the wind and 
tide, but at last obtained it." 

Space does not allow our mentioning Congressional action in 


much detail. On November 2, 1775, $100,000 were voted for 
ships, and the Marine Committee was authorized to select 
officers and seamen fitted for the service. On November 10th 
two battalions of marines were established. No officers to be 
appointed or men enlisted, "but such as are good seamen . . . 
able to serve to advantage by sea when required." A later 
governor of Rhode Island, William Jones, an ancestor of the 
Dyer family, was one who rilled these conditions. He was 
No. 12 in the list of captains. Rules for the government of 
the navy were passed on November 28; the offices of Captain, 
Lieutenant, Master, Master's Mate, Surgeon, Chaplain and 
warrant officers were established. The monthly pay of captain 
was $32, of able seaman $6.67, later raised to $8. A prize court 
was established. 

These rules were drawn by John Adams, who used as a basis 
those of the British service. 

On December 11, 1775, a committee of twelve was appointed 
to devise ways and means for furnishing a naval armament. 
The members of the committee must already have had their 
minds pretty well made up, for they reported only two days 
later, and on this report, on December 12, Congress authorized 
the building of thirteen frigates, five of 32 guns, five of 28 and 
three of 24. One, the Raleigh, of 32 guns, was built in Ports- 
mouth, New Hampshire; the Hancock, 32, and Boston, 24, were 
built at Salisbury and Newburyport, Massachusetts; the War- 
ren, 32, and Providence, 28, at Providence, Rhode Island; the 
Trumbull, 28, at Chatham, on the Connecticut River; the 
Montgomery, 24, and Congress, 28, at Poughkeepsie, New York; 
the Randolph, 32, Washington, 32, Effingham, 28, and Delaware, 
24, at Philadelphia; the Virginia, 28, at Baltimore, Maryland. 
Six of these, the Montgomery, Congress, Washington, Effingham, 
Delaware and Virginia, never got to sea; they were destroyed 
to prevent capture, except the Virginia, which was actually 

On December 22, 1775, Congress appointed Esek Hopkins, a 
brother of Stephen, commander-in-chief of the navy, the only 
person ever holding such an office, and appointed captains and 
lieutenants for the purchased ships Alfred, 24, Columbus, 20, 
Andrea Doria, 14 and Cabot of 16 guns. The captains were 
Saltonstall, Whipple, Biddle and John B. Hopkins. The first 

igi2.] THE AMERICAN NAVY, 1775-1815. 197 

of the lieutenants named was John Paul Jones. Esek Hopkins' 
career was, however, short. His expedition with the Alfred, 
Columbus, Andrea Doria, Cabot and a few schooners and sloops 
to Nassau, New Providence, in March, 1776, and the escape 
from capture by his squadron of the British frigate Glasgow 
which had been met off Long Island as he was returning, caused 
much adverse criticism which resulted in a too summary dis- 
missal by Congress. He was undoubtedly hardly treated. He 
seems to have made enemies among his officers by much harsh- 
ness of manner, but this was common to them all, as a rule, 
reared as they all had been in the rough merchant-ship school 
of the period. One has but to read Fanning's narrative and 
his account of Paul Jones as captain, to comprehend how rough 
this was. 1 Certainly Hopkins did not deserve the treatment 
awarded him. 

The vessels which have been named constituted the main 
part of the navy during the war. It was hopeless with such to 
meet the powerful ships of Great Britain, which when the war 
began, though the navy was in a very ill-prepared and ineffec- 
tive condition, numbered 270 and when it closed, 468, and of 
which 174 were ships of the line carrying each from 60 to 100 
guns. During these eight years the number of men in the British 
navy was increased from 18,000 to 110,000. The maximum at 
any time of the American navy was but 34 ships carrying on 
the average 20 guns each, and no one more than 36, except the 
Bon Homme Richard, which carried 42. Our frigates usually 
carried 12, 9 and 6-pounders; the larger British ships, 18, 24, 
32 and 4 2 -pounders. Our largest frigates were less than 140 
feet long, and about 34 feet beam. Many a yacht of to-day 
is larger. The province of the navy thus naturally drifted 
towards keeping up communication with Europe. It carried 
envoys, despatches, information, duties which were essential to 
America's cause. Our ships fought when occasion served, and 
made many important captures. But in respect to captures, it 
did not and could not play the important role of the privateers, 
which cruised in vastly greater numbers and in a service which 
was much more profitable and more to the taste of our seafar- 
ing population. So much was this the case that our regular 
navy was manned with great difficulty, and not infrequently 

1 This has lately been published by the Naval History Society, New York. 


with a large proportion of English; so many in one instance 
that there was an attempted mutiny with design to seize and 
carry the ship into an English port. 

The situation of the United States was, in the matter of ma- 
terial of war, not unlike that of the Southern Confederacy. 
We had to live off the enemy or by what we could obtain di- 
rectly from Europe. Arms, ammunition, cannon, clothing, 
cordage and other ship equipment were absolute necessities to 
us, and these were provided in very great degree by the cap- 
tures made by the navy and by the privateersmen. These 
latter swarmed on both sides. Captures were made by the 
hundred, and though many American vessels were seized, such 
as we lost were far less in value than those taken by us. Some 
of the latter brought over a million dollars. With the possi- 
bility of such gains, one can readily see that the thrifty sailor- 
man of the time would rather take his chances in the private 
armed ship. 

And we must say here a special word for the privateersman. 
The Colonies had had a long training in such work, particularly 
in the Seven Years' War of 1756 to 1763. It was too an era 
when the slave trade was respectable and even piracy not en- 
tirely disreputable, so there were few seafaring men who did 
not take a turn at adventure. Thus, at the outbreak of the 
Revolution, privateering was in the mind of every seaman. 
Almost every captain of the Continental navy served at one 
time or another as a privateersman, for it was from the mer- 
chant service of course that all our early naval officers had to 
be drawn. Truxtun, Biddle, Barney, Talbot, Barry and Hop- 
kins had all had such experience. The privateers immensely 
outnumbered the ships of the Continental navy. The latter, 
which had 31 ships in 1776 and 34 in 1777, had gradually 
dwindled to but 7 in 1782; whereas the privateers in the same 
years, beginning with 1776, numbered in the several successive 
years 136, 73, 115, 167, 228, 449 and 323. The 449 of 1781 
carried 6735 guns against the but 164 of the Continental ships. 
The value of the captures of the Continental navy was out of 
proportion to the number of ships employed, being about 
$6,000,000 against the $18,000,000 of the privateers. Altogether 
some 800 vessels were captured. It must not be supposed, 
however, that we did not suffer also. Our losses were very 

igi2.] THE AMERICAN NAVY, 1775-1815. 199 

great, but not nearly those of Great Britain. About 16,000 
prisoners were taken by the Americans afloat, being but 6000 
less than those taken by the land forces. These numbers were 
greatly exceeded in the War of 181 2, when over 30,000 prisoners 
were made afloat against 6000 ashore, and the value of the 
captures rose to $45,000,000. The British losses became a great 
factor toward peace in both wars. 

I would like here to make a point: the interest of England 
lay in a strict blockade and not in keeping her fleet massed. 
Had American ports been blockaded in the Revolution as were 
those of the Confederacy in our Civil War, the Colonies would 
have been reduced to inanition as were the Southern States, 
and the British army would have won over an army starved 
of fighting essentials as did our own over the armies of the South 
reduced to destitution. The blockade was an essential to our 
success in the latter case ; it was an equal essential to the success 
of the British, but this fact was understood by few and these 
few were not listened to. One must also take into account the 
fact already mentioned, that the Admiralty Board of the period 
had allowed the whole o£ the naval establishment to fall into 
a disreputable condition. The era was one of gross official 
corruption and both dockyards and ships suffered. 

Though our ships were small, notable engagements were not 
few, and one at least stands in history with undimmed lustre 
as the most famous duel between two ships which has ever 
occurred, that of the Bon Homme Richard and Serapis. The 
former, an old French Indiaman, was turned over to the Amer- 
ican officials in France ; was there fitted out and commissioned 
with American officers in command, and with a crew chiefly of 
American seamen, many of whom had only lately been prisoners 
released by exchange and sent to France. The story of this 
wonderful fight cannot be told here. It is to be found in many 
books, and has no doubt been read by all. It wreathed the 
name of John Paul Jones with undying fame. Less known and 
less sung was an event on Lake Champlain on October 1 1 and 
13, 1776, when a flotilla of small craft, all but two of which 
were " galleys" and " gondolas" propelled by oars, fought a 
desperate engagement against a superior British force, and 
was all but destroyed. The very existence of the flotilla and 
its conduct in battle were largely due to the Benedict Arnold 


who was later to cover such glory with infamy. "Never," 
says Clowe's History of the Royal Navy, "had any force, big or 
small, lived to better purpose or died more gloriously; for it 
had saved the lake for that year." The meaning of this is that 
the expeditionary force in Canada, destined for the Hudson, 
was delayed another year, when, with better preparation, the 
Americans were able to resist with a success which brought the 
several steps of Burgoyne's surrender, the French alliance, 
and the final success of the allied arms. 

Of the forty-one vessels of the navy of the Revolution, some 
twenty were taken by the much more powerful enemy, a small 
frigate carrying 12-pounders having no chance whatever against 
a ship of the line. One, the Randolph, 3 2 , was blown up in action 
with the Yarmouth, 64. No less than six, as mentioned, never 
got to sea at all and were destroyed to prevent falling into the 
hands of the enemy. By the time peace was signed, our navy 
had practically disappeared. It had, however, served its purpose 
well. The names of Jones, Barry, Barney, Biddle, Manley, 
Nicholson, Wickes and Conyngham must always remain as 
symbols of heroic action. These men sailed the seas in the face 
of an almost ubiquitous and all-powerful enemy. Aided by the 
gallant privateer smen, they terrorized British commerce, raised 
insurance to an unprecedented point, and kept up, by cap- 
ture and by transport from the West Indies and particularly 
from the Dutch island of St. Eustatius, which had become an 
immense entrepot, the supply of the many things so necessary 
for the support and well being of an army. 

Congress laid down but one line-of-battle ship during the 
war; the America, at Portsmouth. Begun in 1777, she was not 
launched until the end of 1782, and probably she would have 
remained on the stocks had not Robert Morris, in whom, as 
"Agent of Marine," the work, as also that of the previous or- 
ganizations of Congress, had been centred, pressed for her 
completion. He alone of Congress seemed at this time to have 
an adequate view of needs. But even now the America, one 
of the largest ships of the period, was launched only to be pre- 
sented to the King of France to replace the Magnifique, which 
was wrecked in 1782 in entering Boston harbor. It was how- 
ever a fitting gift, for it was the French navy which made our 
final success possible. It was the coming of de Grasse from the 

igi2.] THE AMERICAN NAVY, 1775-1815. 201 

West Indies, called thence by the earnest demand of Washing- 
ton, and his holding the Chesapeake which prevented the suc- 
cor of Cornwallis and caused his surrender. How narrow was 
the margin of success in this great event appears in the fact 
that de Grasse arrived at the Capes of the Chesapeake on 
August 30, 1 78 1. It was but next day that Admiral Graves 
sailed with the British fleet from New York. He was too late 
by six days. On September 5, however, he was off the Chesa- 
peake, and now de Grasse risked the success of his great errand 
by leaving the bay to engage the British fleet. Had the British 
Admiral fully comprehended the great issue, he would have 
made the rescue of Cornwallis his main object and would have 
taken advantage of the situation to enter the bay with the 
free wind from north-northeast. Cornwallis' army would have 
been saved and Washington's great adventure would have 
been abortive. Graves, instead, wore ship and stood off shore 
parallel to the course of the French to fight a good old-fashioned 
battle after the rules of the Fighting Instructions which had 
for more than a hundred years made British and French fleet 
actions largely innocuous. The British by mismanagement got 
somewhat the worst of such fighting as took place. The two 
fleets remained at sea without further fighting and with no 
attempt by Graves to take advantage of the great chance 
offered him. He simply did not understand. It was not until 
September 11 that de Grasse, who seemed to grasp conditions 
almost as little as Graves, re-entered the Chesapeake. Three 
days later Washington was at Williamsburg; a week more and 
the remainder of the allied force which had spent ten days in 
coming down the Chesapeake from Elkton, was at hand and 
Cornwallis' fate was sealed. Had the British admiral got in- 
side the Capes instead of de Grasse, the history of the world 
would have been changed. Few cases illustrate so fully the 
influence of sea power as does this just mentioned. The French 
army was an aid to our success; the French navy was a necessity. 
The war over, as for America it practically was after York- 
town, the Continental navy gradually disappeared. Congress 
did not end the navy by formal enactment. Robert Morris, 
in whose person for a number of years had been vested the whole 
navy department, retired from public life November 1, 1784. 
The officers were gradually dropped as employment ceased, and 



in August, 1785, was sold the frigate Alliance, for £2887, and 
the Continental navy went into history. It must be remem- 
bered that we were but thirteen loosely bound states, acting 
each largely by its own individualism. We were drifting 
towards what might easily have become an internecine war, 
when again it was mainly Washington who came to the rescue 
in causing the calling of the Convention of 1787 which built 
the foundations of a real nationality. 

Meanwhile the Dey of Algiers had, in the words of Fenimore 
Cooper, discovered that there was a new country brought into 
existence which had a commerce and merchant ships but no 
navy. He took immediate advantage of the situation and began 
his seizures. Two public men now reversed their usual roles. 
It was Jefferson (now, 1785, minister to France) who favored 
building ships and resisting the Dey's exactions by force, his 
real idea being the perpetual enforcement of an international 
blockade; it was John Adams, looking to the poverty of the 
Confederation, who favored, for the moment at least, the pur- 
chase of peace until we could make a treaty in preference to a 
war. We chose for the time the latter policy, which was to 
continue nine years. But by this time we had approached more 
nearly nationhood, with a real national government, and in 
1794, by a law of March 27 of that year, the present navy of 
the United States was called into being by the laying down of 
the Constitution of 44 guns at Boston, the President, 44, at 
New York, the United States, 44, at Philadelphia, the Chesa- 
peake, 38, at Portsmouth, Virginia, the Constellation, 38, at 
Baltimore, the Congress, 38, at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 

In the words of General Knox, Secretary of War, to whose 
department the new naval affairs were for a time confided, 
"the said act created an anxious solicitude that this second 
commencement of a navy for the United States should be 
worthy of their national character; that the vessels should 
combine such qualities of strength, durability, swiftness of 
sailing and force as to render them equal if not superior to 
any frigate belonging to the European powers." This hope 
was accomplished. 

But the spirit of the act which ordered their building did 
not last long. In November, 1795, a treaty was made with 
Algiers which called for an expenditure by the United States of 

1912.] THE AMERICAN NAVY, 1775-1815. 203 

nearly a million dollars which had much better gone into ships 
and guns; $525,500 was for ransom of prisoners, for presents and 
miscellaneous expenses. There was to be an annuity of naval 
stores, and finally the present of a frigate was thrown in. Of 
this last an extract from a newspaper of 1798 is given by Cooper, 
which fitly represents the meanness of spirit to which we had 
come. Says the paper, Portsmouth, January 20, 1798: 

On Thursday morning about sunrise, a gun was discharged from 
the Crescent frigate, as a signal for getting underway, and at 10:00 
a. m., she cleared the harbor with a fine leading breeze. Our best 
wishes follow Captain Newman, his officers and men. May they 
arrive in safety at the place of their destination and present to the 
Dey of Algiers one of the finest specimens of naval architecture 
which was ever borne upon Piscataqua's waters. 

Blow all ye winds that fill the prosperous sail, 
And hush'd in peace be every adverse gale. 

The Crescent [the paper continues] is a present from the United 
States to the Dey as a compensation for delay in not fulfilling our 
treaty stipulations in proper time, . . . 

The Crescent has many valuable presents on board for the Dey, 
and when she sailed was supposed to be worth at least three hundred 
thousand dollars. 

Twenty-six barrels of dollars constituted a part of her cargo. 

It is worthy of remark that the captain, chief of the officers, and 
many of the privates of the Crescent frigate have been prisoners at 

Such, let it here be said, is what not preparing for war meant 
then; it means, in effect, the same now. The depredations of 
the Barbary Powers were but a flea bite to what was to come in 
seizures of shipping by France and England in the next twenty- 
five years, all of which seizures as well as honor would have 
been saved if we had had a real navy instead of the ridiculous 
gunboats of the Jefferson administration. 

The immediate result of the treaty with Algiers was the stop- 
page of work on all but the Constitution, United States and 
Constellation, which were launched in 1797. 

The depredations of the French Republic came, however, to 
give something of an impetus to the new navy, and on April 
27, 1798, $950,000 were appropriated for new construction and 
a regular navy department created. Though war was not for- 


mally declared, a law was passed July 9, 1798, authorizing the 
capture of French cruisers wherever found, and empowering 
the President to issue commissions for privateers. On July 11 
a new marine corps was established. On July 16 three more 
frigates were authorized, making in all under various enactments 
a total of 30 cruisers. By 1800 we had thirty-four cruisers in 
the West Indies; a powerful force which made itself felt and 
respected. Of them all, the Constellation was most fortunate, 
capturing the French frigate Ulnsurgente of 40 guns and meet- 
ing successfully as far as relative injury was concerned the 
Vengeance of 54 guns, which escaped through the loss by the 
Constellation of her masts. This brave ship now lies in Newport 
harbor, an excellent example of the frigate of the ordinary 
type of her day. 

Peace, of a sort, came with France by the treaty of 1800. 
The effect of Washington's and Adams' policy of a navy was, 
however, to have its effect. The country's spirit had been 
stirred, and it was no longer in a humor to submit to the pirat- 
ical treatment of the Barbary Powers. The result was the 
Tripoli tan war of 180 1 to 1805. The grounding and consequent 
capture of the Philadelphia, the imprisonment of Bainbridge and 
his officers and crew of 300 men for nineteen months; the burn- 
ing of the Philadelphia in the harbor of Tripoli by Decatur in 
the Intrepid, the final bringing of the Dey to terms by frequent 
bombardments and captures, make an epic period of our naval 
history of which the present generation knows too little. With- 
out this war, carried on mainly by the squadron under Edward 
Preble, the later history of the War of 18 12 would probably 
have been different. For it was these years of vigorous righting 
and still more arduous blockade under such men as Preble, 
Decatur and Rodgers, which formed our naval service and 
crystallized it into efficiency. Unfortunately, Preble, through 
what was thought a necessary rearrangement of commands, 
was recalled when he was on the point of full success. Had he 
remained in command, he would, almost unquestionably, have 
settled the status of the Barbary Powers with reference to our 
commerce, as was done finally and completely by Decatur in 
18 1 5, who then entered the Mediterranean with a large squad- 
ron on account of a declaration of war by Algiers. In six weeks 
he forced a treaty " dictated," as Decatur expressed it, "at the 

1912.] THE AMERICAN NAVY, 1775-1815. 205 

mouths of our cannon," and the Barbary wars, which had been 
intermittent through thirty years, were forever ended, as far as 
we were concerned. Next year the British under Lord Ex- 
mouth did the same for Europe. But the glory both of begin- 
ning and of really ending the work was ours. 

While there are excellent American authors who have written 
of our Barbary wars, as Gardner W. Allen and J. D. J. Kelley, 
it. has been a Frenchman, Monsieur E. Dupuy, who has given 
the story in its most complete form in a large and appreciative 
volume published in Paris only two years since. In his ending, 
speaking of our withdrawal of interest in the Mediterranean, 
he says: "The Great Republic . . . had conquered laurels 
enough; its statesmen breaking away from the ignoble yielding 
of Europe to the Barbary States, had in hardly thirty years 
broken down the degrading conditions which the Christian 
Powers had shamefully respected for ages." The Barbary wars 
should be one of our proudest memories. 

Notwithstanding the evident necessity of at least protecting 
our merchantmen from seizure by corsairs and the saving of 
their crews from slavery, a navy was anathema to President 
Jefferson. In 1802 he proposed in his annual message "to add 
to our navy yard here [Washington] a dock within which our 
vessels may be laid up dry and under cover from the sun." 
In 1807 he could write to Paine, several months after the out- 
rage of the firing by the Leopard upon the Chesapeake, that a 
navy was "a ruinous folly." He followed this by the embargo 
of December 22, 1807, which tied our ships to the wharves 
and ruined the American merchant and shipowner. His only 
idea of a navy was a number of petty gunboats of which some 
200 were built, and which could not safely make a sea passage 
without striking their one gun into the hold. It was, except with 
reference to the Barbary Powers, an era of base submission 
to insult; our ships were being seized at the rate, for a long time, 
of three a day. All this would have been saved ; and we should 
have escaped, too, the rotting idleness of the embargo, the 
impressment from their ships of our seamen, at the rate of 
1,000 a year, the seizure of the ships themselves, and the brutal 
insult of the Chesapeake incident, if we had but followed the 
advice of Gallatin and Gouverneur Morris and built a fleet of 
battle-ships. And above all we should have saved our honor 


and self-respect. England and France would have curried 
favor with us instead of bullying and despoiling us. There 
would have been no War of 1812. I, for one, cannot read the 
story of the Jefferson and Madison administration without 
wrath in my heart and contempt in my mind for their so-called 
statesmanship, which, besides failing in defence of our commerce 
and country, could declare in 1802 that we had no wish to ex- 
tend beyond the Mississippi, and offered to Spain to guarantee 
to her the remainder of Louisiana if she would sell to us the 
island of New Orleans. 

The faineant policy mentioned brought the War of 181 2, in 
which our few ships made an imperishable name. The stories 
of the Constitution and Guerriere, of the United States and 
Macedonian, of the Constitution and Java, of the Essex against 
the Phoebe and Cherub, of Lake Erie and Lake Champlain as 
of many other proud events, are written forever in American 
memory. The first — fought August 19, 181 2, so that this is 
the centennial year of the victory — restored the self-respect 
of American manhood so cruelly wounded through the twelve 
years of ignoble policy in the Jeffersonian period toward French 
spoliation and British arrogance. 

It was epochal in character, vivifying the long dormant spirit 
of nationality and giving a death blow to the disunionist spirit 
of the period. How it permeated the soul of the country was 
shown in a remarkable way at the death of a lady of the 
Adams family in 1903. Born in 1808, she was but four years 
old at the time of the action, but so vividly had the exultation 
of her elders been impressed upon the child's mind, that on the 
day of her death, more than ninety years later, her mind in- 
sensibly reverted to the most deeply impressed of her early child- 
ish memories, and in tremulous tones, though otherwise uncon- 
scious, she kept repeating the words: " Thank God for Hull's 
victory." Nothing could show more strongly the immensity 
of exultation and relief this victory caused. It is not too 
much to say that the triumphs of the navy in this war saved 
the Union. Our one real disaster, the loss of the Chesapeake, 
was simply the result of a bad judgment, probably better de- 
scribed as fatuity. Officers and crew were entirely new to the 
ship. Not a gun's crew had been exercised, not a sail had been 
bent before the day of action. To go out in such a state of 

191 2.] THE AMERICAN NAVY, 1775-1815. 207 

unpreparedness to meet a ship of like force which had been 
three years and a half in commission, was folly. We fight to 
win for the country, not to satisfy personal pride, and I can see 
nothing but unwisdom amounting to folly, though it was coupled 
with great gallantry, in the conduct of the captain of the Chesa- 
peake in accepting a challenge under such almost hopeless cir- 
cumstances. Preparation, drill, discipline are a necessity to 
success in war, and the Chesapeake had had no time for any of 
these. It had been better to wait and accept Broke's chiv- 
alrous challenge to meet at a later date at a given point. There 
was courage, there was heroism in plenty; but it was not war. 
The result, the all but inevitable result, was the capture of the 
Chesapeake, and this capture is the one naval event which is 
harped upon in British history to the practical ignoring of every 
other action. The words " the Chesapeake and Shannon " stand 
out alone, of naval events, in a new and widespread advertise- 
ment of a new British history just published. I have not seen 
the book, but I venture to say that ten times more space has 
been given to this action than to all the others of the War of 
181 2 combined. 

The British were so accustomed to victory over French and 
Spanish ships when of similar and often of larger class that the 
successive victories of the Americans caused consternation in 
England and probed her pride to the quick. She thus has 
hugged the name of the Chesapeake to her wounded heart, as 
having saved her naval honor, but it is time that she took the 
event at its true value. I speak thus plainly of this fight be- 
cause we should recognize truth in such matters. Lawrence 
redeemed himself by giving his life, and by his final utterance, 
" Don't give up the ship," which became Perry's motto flown 
at Lake Erie; but we lost the ship. 

The Washington administration showed admirable foresight 
and preparation for the future when, in laying down the Constitu- 
tion and her sisters in 1794, it built them, as mentioned, of a size 
and force which made them the equals of any frigates afloat. This 
foresight had result in our many victories from 181 2 to 18 14 which 
brought from the British Admiralty the finest tribute ever paid 
any navy. It may be found in the Croker Papers, Croker being 
at the time and through many years the Secretary of the Ad- 
miralty. I beg your attention to its reading. It is as follows: 


My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty having received in- 
telligence that several of the American ships of war are now at sea, 
I have their Lordships' commands to acquaint you therewith, and 
that they do not conceive that any of his Majesty's frigates should 
attempt to engage, single handed, the larger class of American ships, 
which, though they may be called frigates, are of a size, complement 
and weight of metal much beyond that class and more resembling 
line-of-battle ships. 

In the event of one of his Majesty's frigates under your orders 
falling in with one of these ships, his captain should endeavor in the 
first instance to secure the retreat of his Majesty's ship; but if he 
finds that he has an advantage in sailing he should endeavor to 
manoeuvre, and keep company with her, without coming to action, 
in the hope of falling in with some other of his Majesty's ships, with 
whose assistance the enemy might be attacked with a reasonable 
hope of success. 

It is their Lordships' further directions that you make this known 
as soon as possible to the several captains commanding his Majesty's 
ships. 1 

It was this frank acknowledgment by the British Admiralty 
that, whatever the cause, the American ship usually won, that 
caused the cruising together of the Phoebe and Cherub in search 
of the Essex, though the Phoebe alone outclassed the latter. 
Notwithstanding the two to one the Essex made a noble fight 
at Valparaiso. Such defeat is finer than many a victory. 

One may be very sure that no such order as that just men- 
tioned would have been issued had such ships as ours flown 
another flag and carried other crews. The highest possible 
praise is thus implied in this remarkable document. With 
this great and unique tribute from the enemy himself, which is 
far more flattering to our pride than any words I can use, it 
is well that I should end. 

Mr. Endicott presented the following paper on 

Reminiscences of Seventy-five Years. 

I have been asked to prepare for the Society some reminis- 
cences of my life and I do it with considerable hesitation. 
They must contain much that is personal, they will have much 
that is trivial, but it is possible that it may be of interest to 
1 The Croker Papers, I. 44. 


note some of the changes in our social and business life that have 
occurred within the lifetime of a single individual. 

I was born in Beverly, Massachusetts, on January 4, 1826; 
consequently I have nearly completed my eighty-seventh year. 
Beverly was a town of considerable importance in the Common- 
wealth. It was, as a part of Salem, one of the earliest of the 
Colonial settlements, many of its citizens had been engaged in 
foreign commerce sailing from Salem and Boston as well as 
from Beverly, and some had taken important parts in the polit- 
ical life of State and nation. 

The leading citizen of that time, and probably for all time, 
was Nathan Dane, the author of the Ordinance of 1787 for the 
government of the Northwestern territory, by which slavery 
was forever excluded from what now constitutes the States of 
Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. Seldom is 
it given to man to become the instrument in legislation of such 
transcendent importance as this which consecrated that vast 
region forever to Human Freedom. 

To Dr. Dane also is due the provision in the Constitution 
prohibiting any State from passing laws impairing the obliga- 
tion of contracts. 

I remember him very well, an old gentleman with a serene 
and kindly face. I used to carry to him the North American 
Review and other periodicals for which he and my grandfather, 
Robert Rantoul, with Dr. Joshua Fisher, were joint subscribers. 

When I remember my little conversations with one who had 
been a distinguished member of the Continental Congress it 
does seem to me a far cry indeed. 

Dr. Dane died February 15, 1835. 

Somewhere in the early thirties rumors had reached Beverly 
that in Pennsylvania, or elsewhere, anthracite coal was coming 
into use as fuel. In order to make trial of it five or six gentle- 
men joined together and sent to Boston for a cart load, there 
being no railroad. 

From my father's quota I remember a lump of about the 
size of a peck measure which he placed in the open fireplace 
and heaped about it an assortment of pine and hard woods. 
These burned very well, but had no effect upon the coal even 
with repeated trials. Considerable fuel was burned upon that 
occasion, but it was not coal. 



Some little time after, when a grate had been installed in 
the fireplace and a good fire was burning in it, an old gentle- 
man came in to view the novel spectacle. After looking at it 
intently for a few minutes he remarked that "it looked ex- 
pensive/ ' and retired from the scene. Little did he think that 
his sage conclusion would be quoted after the lapse of three 
quarters of a century and then, perchance, put in type and pos- 
sibly read a century or two later. 

Before leaving the fuel question it may be said that even the 
ignition of wood was not unattended with difficulty. In every 
kitchen at that time might be found a circular tin box of about 
five inches diameter and one and one-half inches depth, the 
cover closely fitting into the box. This, half filled with partially 
burned rags, was "the tinder-box." Beside it would be a flint 
and a peculiarly shaped piece of steel, with some home-made 
matches, three or four inches long, dipped in melted brim- 
stone. By striking the flint quickly upon the steel a spark was 
thrown into the tinder from which the brimstone match would 
kindle a blaze. There was great knack in doing this, but some- 
times great patience was required. When I think of my cold 
fingers on some winter morning, benumbed in fruitless endeavor 
to coax from the reluctant steel the spark which was to set in 
motion the domestic activities of the day, I always feel like 
invoking blessings upon Ezekiel Byam, whose likeness and 
autograph were shortly to appear upon each wrapper, and 
whom I suppose to have been the inventor, of friction matches. 

For the first bunch which I ever purchased I paid ninepence, 
or twelve and one-half cents. I have recently obtained the 
present price of the same kind of matches and find it to be 
twenty cents for thirty-six bunches, a shade over one-half of 
one cent per bunch, thus affording one instance where a giant 
monopoly has not crushed the consumer into the dust. 

It was usual at bedtime to rake the coals together and cover 
them with ashes. In this way they often lived through the 
night and would kindle a blaze upon the application of a brim- 
stone match in the morning. 

Next in importance to modes of living come means of loco- 
motion, and in these I have seen great changes. At the period 
of which I have been speaking there was no railroad in 
eastern Massachusetts. The daily communication between 


Beverly and Boston was by stage, leaving Beverly at 8 A. m. 
in the summer and 9 a. m. in the winter, the trip occupying 
about four hours. Returning, the stage left Wildes' Hotel in 
Elm Street, 1 where several stage lines had their headquarters, at 
3 p. m. In the winter, therefore, passengers had about two 
hours in which to go from Elm Street, attend to business, get 
dinner, and return to Elm Street in season for the afternoon 
stage. The fare was one dollar each way. 

The Beverly stage rarely contained more than half a dozen 
passengers, and when I see the crowd emerging from an after- 
noon train in the Beverly station I often think of Page's stage 
with the handful of passengers alighting from their weary and 
dusty ride of four hours. 

The Eastern Railroad was opened to Salem in 1838 and to 
Beverly about a year later. I have heard my father say that 
a dinner was given in Salem to celebrate the opening of the 
road to that place, on which occasion the President stated in 
his speech that, in order to make the road pay, it would be 
necessary to have forty passengers each way daily. 

In April, 1838, while in New York with my father I saw 
the first two passenger steamers that had ever crossed the 
Atlantic, arriving within two days of each other, the Sirius, 
700 tons, in seventeen days from London, and the Great Western, 
1340 tons, in fifteen days from Bristol. The Daily Advertiser 
spoke of the latter as an " extraordinary passage, " but it has 
recently been outdone by the Mauretania making the round 
trip from and to Liverpool in twelve days, while the Hamburg- 
American steamer Imperator of 50,000 tons, now approaching 
completion, will fairly put the little Sirius in the shade, the 
tonnage being seventy-one times as great. 

In January, 1840, I graduated from school and as a clerk 
entered the store of my father in Beverly, thus embarking 
upon the dry-goods business, which continued to be my occu- 
pation until August, 1 9 10, a period of more than seventy years, 
although it may be said that for more than half of that time 
my attention has been largely given to other concerns. In 
September, 1846, I came to Boston and as clerk entered the 
employ of Messrs. Hovey, Williams & Co., of which firm in 

1 Known as the Patterson House, 1 1 Elm Street, and kept by Solomon Wildes, 
later by M. & M. Wildes. 


the course of four years I became a partner and which con- 
tinued to be my business home for nearly sixty-four years. 

Before commencing the review of business changes, I will 
mention a personal incident which may be of interest. 

In the summer of 1846 with a small party of friends I made 
the tour of the White Mountains. As there was no railroad 
beyond Concord, this was by stage, a much preferable mode. 
At several points in the mountains we met another stage party 
consisting of Messrs. Abbott Lawrence, Samuel Lawrence, J. 
Huntington Wolcott, Charles Storrow, and one or two others 
whose names I fail to recall. We learned, confidentially, that 
they were examining the sources of supply of the Merrimack 
River. This was the genesis of the city of Lawrence, which 
then existed only in the brains that were in that stagecoach. 
The territory which it now covers was then farming land 
mainly in the towns of Andover and Methuen. 

As I come to what may be considered the starting-point in 
my business career, I may be excused in going a little into my 
personal surroundings. 

The firm of Hovey, Williams & Co., consisting of Charles F. 
Hovey, Washington Williams and James H. Bryden, had for 
several years been doing business in Water Street and later 
in Federal Street as importers of foreign dry goods, which they 
sold only by the package principally to jobbers, who in turn 
broke them up and sold to retailers in various parts of the 
country. It will be seen that this involved three profits and 
three sets of store expenses before goods reached the consumer. 
Extravagant as this may seem, it was the universal practice 
up to about the time of which I am writing, and perhaps it may 
have been the only course practicable until business should 
assume larger proportions. Some three or four years previous 
A. T. Stewart of New York had added to his considerable 
retail business importation and jobbing as well, and the great 
success of this experiment may have induced Mr. Hovey to 
do the same in Boston. The importing firm of Hovey, Wil- 
liams & Co. therefore added two more partners, John Chandler 
and Richard C. Greenleaf, who, as the firm of Chandler and 
Greenleaf, had conducted a retail business on Washington, 
near West Street. The firm, thus constituted, commenced 
business in Winter Street in a building erected for them by Mr. 


Thomas Wigglesworth and which is now a part of the Gilchrist 
store. It may be interesting to remark that the rental was 
twenty-nine hundred dollars per annum. In 1854 the firm 
removed to a new store in Summer Street, where they have re- 
mained until the present time. 

As the purpose of this paper is to state the changes in busi- 
ness methods that have taken place in my time, it seems proper 
for me to name several that were inaugurated by Mr. Hovey 
when organizing the new concern, and which are not only 
highly creditable to him, but which have greatly raised the 
moral tone of the dry-goods business and, by the force of ex- 
ample, of all retail establishments. I feel free to do this as, 
although I later became a partner in the firm, at that time I 
was to enter the store merely as a young clerk having no part 
in making rules and entitled to no credit therefor. 

It had been very much the practice in dry-goods and pre- 
sumably in other retail stores to have no regularity in prices. 
The cost only would be marked, and very much left to the 
discretion of the clerk in making a price that would secure a 
sale. He would get a profit, and a large one, if he could, but 
he would take a small profit rather than let a customer go. 
Worse than this, it was quite common not to adhere closely to 
the truth in statements that might secure a sale. Of course 
there were many honest and honorable men in the business 
who would not tolerate such practices, which were far too 

Mr. Hovey was a man of such strict integrity that he would 
not for a moment have considered engaging in business unless 
it was to conform strictly to his ideas of honest dealing. From 
the very first then in the new store the one-price system was 
made imperative; goods were marked in plain figures which 
customers could examine if they wished, and no variation was 
to be made to partners or to any one else. If a lower price 
were quoted from a competitor, such article was withdrawn 
from stock for that day and returned the next morning at the 
revised price. Nothing but the truth was to be stated about 
an article and no undue pressure used to effect a sale. 

It goes without saying that a business conducted upon these 
lines, when found to be real and not pretence, would find favor 
with the public, and this was the case. Gradually other stores 


adopted the one-price system, so that before many years it 
had become the general usage and for a long time no other 
has prevailed in the larger stores of Boston. 

Another innovation introduced by Mr. Hovey at that time 
was the early closing of the store. It had been the universal 
custom of practically all retail stores to keep open until about 
10 p. m. Mr. Hovey had the courage of his convictions and, 
without asking for any concurrent action from anybody, be- 
gan closing at 6 p. m. in the winter and 7 p. m. in the summer. 
This reform also took root, so that in a few years the habit of 
early closing became quite general, greatly to the benefit of 
the clerks. Later the hour of closing became 5.30 p. m. 

Still another change was made which was really of consider- 
able importance both to customers and sellers. It was a very 
general custom to have " family bills," as they were called, by 
which the family supplies for the year were " charged" and 
the bills sent in for settlement on December 31. The loss of 
interest to the storekeepers was of great importance, as very 
few had much capital and most likely depended upon the 
credits given by the jobbers from whom they purchased their 
goods. It was an axiom of the business at that time that ninety- 
nine per cent of the retailers failed, and it was not far from the 

On the other hand, the long credit would often lead to over 
extravagance in the family expenses. A change was made, bills 
were sent out at the end of each month and prompt payment 
exacted, instead of being allowed to run for the whole year. 

Messrs. Williams and Chandler having retired from the 
firm, Henry Woods, Samuel Johnson and William Endicott, Jr., 
who had each had a silent interest for a year or two, were ad- 
vertised as partners January 1, 185 1, and the firm name was 
changed to C. F. Hovey & Co. under which style, with many 
changes in its personnel, it has continued until the present 
time, more than sixty-five years from its original inception. 
I may, I think, be allowed to say that the three younger part- 
ners mentioned above continued together until the connection 
was severed by death, a period of about fifty years, and with- 
out any serious difference between them during the whole 

My first boarding place proving unsatisfactory, I soon found 


another which brought me into an atmosphere of idealism. 
My new landlady had been the housekeeper at Brook Farm, 
the Fourierite Community at West Roxbury which had recently 
come to grief and disbanded. Her husband and several of 
the boarders were also Brook Farmers. One of them, Mr. 
Charles A. Dana, became distinguished as one of the staff of 
the New York Tribune, was Assistant Secretary of War during 
the Civil War, and later editor and proprietor of the New 
York Sun. He was at that time, as he mentions in his published 
reminiscences, assistant editor of the Chronotype at a salary 
of five hundred dollars per annum. The Chronotype was a 
four-page paper of about eighteen inches square, owned and 
edited by Elizur Wright, who afterwards became distinguished 
as the leading authority upon all questions relating to life 
insurance. Both editor and assistant editor were able writers, 
quite competent to fill the little paper with strong editorials. 
Mr. Dana's salary does not seem large, but he evidently cut 
his garment according to his cloth. His room at our house 
was upon the attic floor, as was mine, so I presume that he 
paid about the same price for board and lodging that I did, 
which was three dollars per week, and very good board it was. 
My salary at that time was three hundred and fifty dollars 
per annum. There were not many millionaires in those days, 
and our landlord evidently did not propose to become one of 
them if he could avoid it. 

Other of our boarders were John S. D wight, later editor 
of D wight's Journal of Music; Mrs. Eldredge, a widow with 
two little daughters, sister of N. P. Willis the poet. She soon 
became famous as a writer of essays for magazines under the 
nom de plume " Fanny Fern"; Samuel W. Rowse, who later 
became distinguished as a crayon artist; and, at intervals, 
George M. Champney, a landscape artist of considerable note. 

We demonstrated one fact at that establishment, that the 
possession of money is not essential to happiness. None of 
us had any of that commodity, and yet we had very jolly 

I have touched lightly upon the change in the terms of 
retail credit as compared with the earlier time, and it seems 
now to be in order to take up the more important subject of 
wholesale credits. 


Domestic goods were sold by the mill agents to jobbers 
upon eight months, and cotton goods for export to China and 
the East upon twelve months' credit. The jobbers sold to 
retailers upon six months with a liberal discount for cash 
within thirty days. It will be observed that the eight months' 
credit accorded to jobbers enabled them to double up their 
indebtedness; that is, the large purchases for the beginning of 
one season would be made before the purchases of the previous 
season had been paid for, so that the domestic goods commis- 
sion houses were practically supplying capital for the jobbers, 
who, in turn, were to a great extent carrying the retailers. 
When the jobbing houses had attained great importance, say 
by 1850, they found it quite convenient to buy domestic goods 
upon eight months and sell them without profit to retailers 
upon thirty or sixty days, thus procuring capital with which 
to import foreign goods. These extended credits given by the 
domestic commission houses necessitated much borrowing on 
their part, which was usually done upon their acceptances of 
the drafts of the mill treasurers, often with the individual 
endorsement of the treasurer himself. 

The consequence of this was apparent in the panic of 1857, 
when it became impossible to sell paper even at three per cent 
per month. Very many of the commission houses, some of 
large capital and undoubted strength, were obliged to fail. It 
was a melancholy time when some of the wealthiest houses in 
Boston, who a month before would have deemed such an 
event impossible, were obliged to see their paper go to protest. 

The advent of Civil War led to a complete change in the whole 
credit system of the country. The fluctuating value of the 
depreciated currency made any credits quite hazardous, and 
when this became apparent in the early years of the War 
sales were brought as nearly as possible to a cash or short- 
credit basis. This is largely the present usage, and the long 
credits have gone never to return. 

No complete picture of ante-bellum business can be given 
without stating the condition of the currency, which can only 
be described as wretched. 

First as to the silver currency. As the legal coinage ratio 
of gold to silver was 1 to 16, it followed that the silver coin 
being undervalued would not remain in circulation, and much 


of it went into the melting pot or was exported. This left, 
say from 1837 to 1853, mainly Spanish fractional silver to 
serve for our local circulation. Much of this was worn so smooth 
as to be uncurrent at its nominal value, — the quarter as 
twenty-five cents; the eighth, called ninepence, valued at 
twelve and one-half cents; the sixteenth, called fourpence 
ha'penny, valued at six and one-quarter cents. This stuff was 
practically all that we had, and it was a perfect nuisance. An 
Act of Congress of February, 1853, reduced the quantity of 
silver in the small currency about seven per cent, and then it 
remained at home. 

Notwithstanding that no such coins were in existence here, 
with the exception of a very few "pistareens," as they were 
called, of the value of seventeen cents, it was the practice up to 
nearly the time of the Civil War to quote very many prices in 
shillings and pence on the basis of six shillings to the dollar. 
Thus, a very common price of all commodities was ninepence, 
or twelve and one-half cents, and there were plenty of coins 
of that value. With the occasional pistareen just noted there 
was no such coin as one shilling, or sixteen and two-thirds 
cents, but this, with its multiples, was a frequent price; two 
and threepence, or thirty-seven and one-half cents, three and 
ninepence, or sixty-two and one-half cents, and four and six- 
pence, or seventy-five cents, were very commonly named prices. 
I might go on and name others, but these will suffice. 

It is remarkable how long a deep-rooted custom will prevail 
even with little reason. I can account for the general use of 
shillings and pence in prices only because, as we had practically 
no small decimal coins in circulation, the prices which I have 
named were better adjusted to the ninepenny coin than deci- 
mal prices would have been. With the advent of Civil War the 
fractional paper currency swept away all the Spanish silver, 
leaving only decimal paper, and to this prices speedily adjusted 
themselves. When decimal silver came in after resumption, 
the old-fashioned prices had gone with the old-fashioned coins, 
and good riddance to both! 

During the panic of 1837 silver had so generally disappeared 
from circulation that some of the New England banks under- 
took to fill the aching void by the issue of bank notes. As 
Massachusetts law did not permit the issue of a denomination 



less than one dollar, they issued bills of $1.25, $1.50 and $1.75. 
I was not old enough to have known much of the panic, but I 
remember these bills having been in circulation after I came 
upon the scene. 

One of the results of the Civil War was the coming of the 
National Bank Currency, which circulates at par in every part 
of the country and of which counterfeits are so few as to call 
for no thought. Before the War the currency was supplied 
by banks chartered by the different States and with varying 
conditions, all, with the exception of the Eastern States, en- 
tirely unprepared to stand any sort of strain, while in some 
of the Western and Southern States they were in a chronic 
state of insolvency all the time. What was called the Suffolk 
Bank System, by which the bills of all the New England States 
were constantly sent home for redemption, kept them at par, 
and they were the only bills that could be deposited in bank 
here. Bills from the rest of the country could be got rid of 
only by sale to brokers at a discount, small upon bills of the 
Atlantic States and upon others at varying discounts according 
to the credit of each bank. It was necessary, even for small 
stores, to have a copy of a "Bank Note List," both for informa- 
tion as to the discount upon the notes and as to counterfeits, 
which were many. These were published monthly by various 

A few quotations from Willis' Bank Note List for October, 
185 1, will show the quality of the currency which a large por- 
tion of the country had for their business transactions. It is 
a mystery how they could do anything. Upon Western and 
Southern banks which were considered "good" the discounts 
were 3% or 4%. For Illinois it says, "All the banks in this 
State closed and the paper of doubtful value." 

For Arkansas, "All banks in this State worthless." 

For Mississippi, "Northern Bank 10% discount, all other 
banks in this State of doubtful and only nominal value." 

For Michigan, "Four banks«quoted at 4% discount, all others 

For Wisconsin, "Checks of George Smith 3% discount, all 
other bills bad." 

In other States there were many quotations of failed banks 
with discounts of 25%, 50% or 75%. 


Strange contrast to our present system, by which bills of far 
distant banks circulate here without thought of risk! 

I think that an effort was made in Illinois somewhere about 
1855 or 1856 to introduce a reformed currency secured by 
pledge of State bonds, but when the panic of 1857 came on the 
decline in the market price of the State bonds was such as to 
impair very much the credit of the new currency. 

The panic of 1857 deserves especial mention. Of all the 
panics that I have seen, and they are many, this was the most 
severe. I was absent from this country during the whole 
panic of 1873. Currency conditions at the West, to which I 
have alluded, were such as to produce almost a complete dead- 
lock out there. They had good crops, but, with such poor cur- 
rency and credit almost nil, there was great difficulty in getting 
them to market and realizing upon them. The houses who 
were owing the East were between the devil and the deep sea. 
If they retained the bank notes which they were daily receiving, 
there was great danger of loss from bank failures; if they tried 
to remit to their creditors, they were met by a ruinous rate of 
exchange for Eastern drafts, in some instances twenty to thirty 
per cent, — a serious loss to them in either case. 

I wrote to our customers in the large cities to remit and that 
we would pay one-half the exchange. If there was any money 
out there, we wanted our share of it. One house in Milwaukee 
remitted to us three thousand barrels of flour. When shipped 
it promised quite a favorable rate of exchange, but before it 
reached Boston the price had declined so that I doubt if there 
was any saving by the shipment. 

I have mentioned in another place the numerous failures of 
commission merchants in Boston in 1857, but the failures in 
all branches of business were enormous. It was almost im- 
possible to borrow at any price. I saw paper with two 
strong names having five or six months to run in the hands 
of a broker offered at three per cent per month and it could 
not be sold. 

I can give a very good illustration showing the great straits 
in which the mill treasurers found themselves. Two of the 
largest cotton mills of Lowell, rinding it impossible to raise 
money in any other way, made considerable shipments of cot- 
ton to Liverpool, consigned to Baring Bros. & Co. They un- 


doubtedly had to sell the cotton at a loss of several cents 
per pound, to pay Barings' commission, freight and insurance, 
and they sold the exchange to our firm at 4.44% the pound 
sterling, a loss of nearly ten per cent upon the exchange. It 
is probably no exaggeration to estimate the loss to the mills 
as one third the amount of the transaction. But that was 
better than to see their acceptances go to protest. I bought 
other bills at 4.40 the pound sterling. In more than sixty 
years' experience I have never known any quotations for 
sterling approaching that. In short, the panic of 1857 was, 
to borrow a presidential term, "a perfect corker." 

It may be worth a little space to state the principal condi- 
tions which led up to the " Panic of 1857." The years from 
1846 to 1857 had been very prosperous years for all kinds of 
business, and the country was gaining in wealth more rapidly 
than at any former period. The West was clamoring for rail- 
roads, and as it had very little available capital it looked 
to the East to supply it. This was done by adventurous 
men tempted by the hope of good profit if successful 
and in general too sanguine of immediate results. Thus it 
came about that a vast amount of capital (for those days), 
largely obtained by the free use of credit, was locked up in 
investments not at once remunerative and which in many 
cases never became so. The West responded in rapid devel- 
opment, immigration increased; the Western banks, always 
weak, extended their loans and became weaker; the East- 
ern banks, even if in fairly good condition, became more 
and more extended. At last the bubble burst, and the time 
had come to stop borrowing and try to pay, — never an easy 

The panic was precipitated by the failure of the Ohio Life 
Insurance and Trust Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, in Sep- 
tember. Once started, other institutions followed suit and at 
once the banks were compelled, in self-defence, to commence a 
serious contraction of loans resulting in the failure of very many 
of their customers, which in turn compelled the failure of nu- 
merous banks. The New York and Boston banks suspended 
specie payments within a few weeks. 

In the early forties the dry-goods jobbing trade was centred 
about Kilby Street and Liberty Square, a few houses remaining 


in State Street and Doane Street. Soon after there was a 
movement to Milk Street, Water Street and Congress Street. 
Then Pearl Street came into favor and was occupied by many 
important concerns, in turn to be crowded out by the shoe 
and leather trade. Franklin, Summer, Winter and Tremont 
Streets were then entirely residential streets. The store erected 
for Hovey, Williams & Co. in 1846 was the first store in Winter 
Street, excepting a small millinery store. When removal was 
made to Summer Street in 1854, there was but one other store 
in that street, near Washington Street, on the opposite side. 
During the next decade Franklin, Summer and Winter Streets 
had all become business streets, and soon the change began 
which has made Tremont Street one of the most important 
retail streets of the city. 

In locating the dry-goods jobbing houses it may be said that 
the trade was relatively of more importance than at present. 
The retail houses of the Western cities then drew their supplies 
almost universally from New York and Boston jobbers. Now 
these concerns have grown in importance so that they deal 
directly with the domestic goods commission houses and with 
foreign manufacturers, largely doing away with the interven- 
tion of the jobbers. It is probable that Chicago now surpasses 
New York as a distributing centre. 

In these days of constant cable despatches it is difficult to 
realize that intervals of nearly a week were frequent in receipt 
of European news. For some years prior to the laying of the 
cable the Associated Press had in successful operation a plan 
for waylaying the steamers off Cape Race and obtaining news 
despatches, which were telegraphed from Cape Race to the 
United States, thus anticipating the arrival of steamers in 
New York or Boston by two or three days. The despatches 
were placed in a small air-tight tin canister, weighted at one end 
and with a little metallic flag attached to the other. This was 
thrown over from the steamer when off Cape Race, which 
steamed away leaving the latest news bobbing about on the 
Atlantic. At night rockets were sent up from the steamer to 
notify the lookouts that the steamer was passing Cape Race. 
Boatmen were on the lookout for the canister to take it to the 
telegraph office near Cape Race. I do not know whether this 
service was by contract or whether a premium was paid to the 


finder, but I have seen as many as half a dozen boats making 
for the tin can that had just been thrown over from our 

The first cable was laid in August, 1858, and was the occa- 
sion of considerable interest. Congratulatory messages were 
exchanged between President Buchanan and Queen Victoria. 
There was a pretty general illumination of houses in Boston. 
I was then living in Pemberton Square and took that mode of 
expressing my gratification; but it was a short-lived pleasure, 
for in a few days the cable ceased working and lay dormant 
until a second cable was laid in 1868. 

Marked changes have taken place in the topography of 
Boston during the period which we are reviewing, of which I 
will mention but one, the filling of the Back Bay, which was 
accomplished in the early fifties. Prior to that time the con- 
nection between Boston and Roxbury, which is now Beacon 
Street, was a causeway called the "Mill Dam" with a toll-gate 
at the Roxbury end, where was a mill for which the power was 
obtained from the ebb and flow of the tide through the flood- 
gates at that point. What is now the Public Garden was then a 
dumping ground for rubbish of all sorts. The tide came in as 
far as Charles Street. Upon the southwest corner of Beacon 
and Charles Streets were swimming baths which I frequented 
in the summer and which were served by the salt water brought 
in by the tide. 

When Mr. George Hovey built his house No. 100 Beacon 
Street, somewhere about 1856, he was jeered at by his friends 
and asked why he was going out to Longwood to live, there 
being then very few houses below Charles Street. 

The repeal of the Missouri Compromise in 1854 with the at- 
tempt which followed to force slavery into Kansas, regardless 
of the will of the inhabitants, with the evident and proclaimed 
purpose of the Southern leaders to open all the territories of 
the United States to slavery, and the assault upon Sumner in 
the Senate Chamber in 1856, had roused a spirit of resistance 
in the North which was well represented in the Republican 
Convention which met in Philadelphia in June, 1856, and which 
nominated Fremont for the Presidency. I attended this Con- 
vention as an alternate delegate from the Essex South District, 
as I was then a resident of Beverly. A few of the impor- 


tant delegates — Charles Francis Adams, Senior, Judge Hoar, 
Judge Allen of Worcester, with perhaps one or two more — 
called upon Fremont in New York before the Convention to 
sound him with regard to his views upon the slavery question, 
as he had no public record. At a full meeting of the delegation 
at Philadelphia they reported that, in their opinion, he was a 
safe man to nominate. He was supported by the Massachusetts 
delegation and nominated, I think, upon the first ballot. It is 
a great mercy that this nomination was not followed by his 
election. After adjournment of the Convention the whole 
Massachusetts delegation called upon Fremont in New York. 
It was an interesting occasion, but my remembrance of it is 
that our nominee did not at all impress me as of presidential 

After various nominations for the Vice-Presidency had been 
made, one of the Western delegates, seated upon the opposite 
side of the hall, arose and, after a spread eagle speech, wound 
up by proposing the nomination of "Abraham Lincoln of 
Illinois," "Honest Old Abe." Instantly there was immense 
applause, clapping and stamping, upon that side of the hall, 
to the great surprise of the Eastern delegates, who were seated 
together on the opposite side. At once the inquiry went 
around, " Who is this that they are making such a fuss about 
over there?" This was two years before his debate with 
Douglass, and very few of the Eastern delegates had ever 
heard of him. This paucity of information has since been 

A few days prior to the assembling of the Republican Con- 
vention a "Know-Nothing" Convention had been in session in 
New York. Flushed with great success in the elections of the 
two previous years, it was then a party of great expectations, 
but it was destined to be a short-lived affair and it went down 
as rapidly as it came up. This Convention at New York ad- 
journed over at the meeting at Philadelphia, and many of its 
leaders were in attendance there endeavoring to procure a 
union of the two parties upon the same candidate. N. P. 
Banks of Massachusetts was proposed by the Know -No things 
as their nominee, and he was on hand coquetting for the nom- 
ination, but the movement received no favor with the leaders 
at Philadelphia and it came to nothing. 


The Philadelphia Convention was of the sort that it is a pleas- 
ure to attend. Probably not a man in it had any idea of ob- 
taining office — indeed the prospect was too remote to make 
it worthy of a thought. The members were inspired by the 
resolve to keep slavery out of the unoccupied territories of the 
Union. Little did they realize what was to be the cost. 

We are now approaching the era of the Civil War, of which 
I shall say but little and that chiefly of financial matters. 

I spent two weeks in Washington in January, 1861, and the 
city was seething with excitement as to coming events. I was 
in the Senate Chamber on January 21, 186 1, when Jefferson 
Davis, Clement C. Clay, and Senator Yulee made their farewell 
speeches and took leave of the Senate. After concluding his 
speech Mr. Davis spread out his pocket-handkerchief, put in 
it the stationery from his desk and took it with him as he left 
the Senate. I presume that he considered it to be the part, 
or half of it, belonging to Mississippi. I was much impressed 
by the feeling that he felt that he was undertaking a big job, 
but the secession movement had gained too great impetus for 
any one to change it. Mrs. Clay, in her recent book, A Belle 
of the Fifties, gives an interesting account of the scene. 

One morning at that time Mr. Sumner told me that he had 
just seen General Scott, who informed him that he had ordered 
three hundred troops to Washington for the protection of the 
Capital. So little did we Northerners then know of the im- 
pending catastrophe! 

I was in the House one day when a petition from Boston was 
presented praying for the enactment of the Crittenden Com- 
promise measures. These were brought forward by Mr. John 
J. Crittenden, who had been a member of the Cabinet of the 
first President Harrison in 1841, and was then a representative 
and later a senator from Kentucky. He was utterly opposed 
to secession and remained strongly loyal to the Union during 
the Civil War. 

The Crittenden Compromise was offered in the hope of com- 
posing the differences between the two sections upon the subject 
of slavery, at that time a hopeless undertaking. This petition 
was three feet in width, and the roll about the diameter of a 
cart wheel. It was upon a frame and was wheeled down the pas- 
sage in front of the Speaker's desk. It must have contained 


many thousand signatures. 1 I mention this to show the marked 
division of opinion in Boston, as well as throughout the North, 
at the beginning of the Civil War. 

I had several opportunities of meeting President Lincoln 
during his administration. A friend of his, and of mine, kindly 
arranged with him upon two occasions to bring my party of 
four or five to the White House for evening visits, when we had 
what were to us very entertaining talks of an hour or two with 
the President. Our associate Mr. Rantoul has related, in a 
paper read before this Society a year or two since, some details 
of a call that we once made together, but I do not remember 
if it was one of the occasions of which I now propose to 

The first was soon after the battle of An tie tarn. The Presi- 
dent had returned, only a day or two before, from a visit to 
the camp of General McClellan, where he had spent a night. 
Of course, Antietam was uppermost in our minds. It was very 
evident from the remarks of the President that he was very 
much dissatisfied with the conduct of the General both at and 
after the battle. With a force much larger than that of Lee 
he thought that he should have prevented Lee from escaping 
into Virginia, and should have pursued him vigorously without 
giving his army time to recuperate. He said that Fitz John 
Porter had a large reserve corps which was not ordered into 
action at the battle, that he had supposed that the object of a 
reserve was to be ordered in at a critical moment, but that 
Porter did nothing. I was surprised at the freedom with which 
he spoke of army movements. He was much stirred up, and 
made the final removal of McClellan from command of the 
army within a very few days. He also told of his experience 
in going down the Mississippi to New Orleans in a flat-bottomed 
boat, and of his captaincy of a company in the Black Hawk 
War, all of which, from his own lips, was most interesting. 

My second evening with the President was some months 
later, shortly before the taking of Vicksburg. General Grant 
had gone north of Vicksburg, hoping to make his way through 

1 The petition was presented to the Senate by Senator Crittenden, February 
12, 1861. It contained 22,313 signatures, "obtained during four secular days, 
under great disadvantages." The prayer of the petitioners was opposed by 
Senator Sumner. Congressional Globe, 36th Cong. 2nd Session, 862; Pierce, Me- 
moir and Letters of Sumner, iv. 18. 



some of the bayous and get to the south of that place before 
making any assault. There was a large map of the theatre of 
operations hanging upon the wall of the President's room. 
After explaining what was proposed the President said, "If 
I had a candle I could show you what Grant is trying to do." 
When a servant answered the bell, the President said to him, 
"John, have you got a candle anywhere about the house? " 
Presently the servant reappeared with a candle, which the 
President took in his left hand, and with a long pole in the other 
pointed to a place on the map. "There," said he, "Grant has 
gone in there, and at last accounts was about there, but we have 
heard nothing from him for quite a little while. He hopes to 
make his way around there" (pointing to the map) "and come 
out about there." He said that the situation reminded him of 
a neighbor in Illinois who kept a lot of hogs in a field from 
which they were constantly escaping. He found that they 
went through a hollow log in the fence, which was crooked, 
and he turned it over. The hogs kept on going through the 
log all the same, but came out on the same side as they went in; 
"and I am afraid," said the President, "that it will be so with 
Grant." And it was. 

Second only in importance to the question of providing an 
army for the suppression of the rebellion was the question of 
providing means of payment, and this was not easy of solution. 
The men who were charged with this great responsibility were 
looking into a future full of darkness and danger, and they are 
entitled to the utmost charity in estimating the wisdom, or the 
lack of it, in the measures adopted, especially as to the issue 
of paper currency and making it legal tender. This was urged 
as a measure of necessity — as the only mode by which the 
enormous sums already due could be provided for; and, after 
the lapse of fifty years, it is still difficult to show that any other 
course would have succeeded better, notwithstanding the in- 
justice of it. With this admission I think that it must be said 
that legal tender might have been, and should have been, re- 
sorted to much more sparingly. 

As the currency bill passed the House, it provided for funding 
the greenbacks in bonds having five years to run and bearing 
seven per cent interest, or in bonds having twenty years to run 
and bearing six per cent interest, the interest in either case 


payable in paper currency, with the probable payment in de- 
preciated currency of the principal at maturity. It is easy now 
to see that with the serious depreciation that was to come in 
the value of the greenback such a funding scheme would have 
been an utter failure. 

The Senate, under the lead of Senator Fessenden of Maine, 
proposed amendments which, after a committee of conference 
of the two houses, made the duties upon imports payable in 
coin, and pledged the same for the interest upon the five- 
twenty bonds, which was made payable in coin, and also for a 
sinking fund for the payment of the whole public debt. In my 
estimation this was the anchor which held the country, and 
none too firmly, to real money during the war and saved it from 
untold disaster. 

Instead of making funding attractive by the offer of liberal 
terms the debates show a higgling about the payment of a high 
or low rate of interest. The twenty-year bonds authorized by 
the same bill were made five- twenties, that they might be re- 
funded at a lower rate than six per cent when the war was over. 
Undoubtedly the offer of twenty-year seven per cent bonds 
would have quickened the funding of the greenbacks very much. 
This, rather than any mere saving of interest, should have been 
the true aim. 

The first issue of greenbacks, one hundred and fifty millions, 
authorized February 25, 1862, was universally represented in 
the debates in Congress as a temporary measure, and the 
assurance was given that no other issue would be required, as 
the convertibility into five-twenty bonds would prevent redun- 
dancy and depreciation. 

So far was this from being realized that the statement of 
the public debt January 2, 1863, nearly a year after the legal 
tender bill, showed that only about twenty-five millions of the 
five-twenties had been issued, while the legal tender issues had 
swollen to about three hundred and fifty millions, the market 
quotation for gold being 134%, proving that the value of the 
greenback had fallen to about seventy-five cents. On June 30, 
1864, the issues of legal tender had mounted to more than 
seven hundred millions, and the market price of gold was ex- 
tremely fluctuating, often rising or falling ten or fifteen per cent 
in a day and sometimes thirty or forty per cent. This was 


largely due to a woful error of judgment on the part of Secre- 
tary Chase. 

Early in 1863 the Treasury Department had engaged the 
services of Jay Cooke, a banker of Philadelphia, in vigorously 
pushing the sale of the five- twenties, and so successful was he 
that by January, 1864, the whole authorized issue of five hun- 
dred millions had been sold and the bonds were going at the 
rate of two millions or more daily, pretty well up to the cost of 
the war, which was about two and a quarter millions per day. 
Clearly the thing to have done was to push the sale of the bonds 
in the supreme effort to avoid further issues of legal tender, 
but Secretary Chase had become so intoxicated by the recent 
sales of five-twenties that he determined to float a five per 
cent loan, which proved a comparative failure, only seventy- 
three millions being sold in a period of nearly six months. 

As I have stated, the variations in the market price of gold, 
or rather in the market value of the greenback, during the last 
year of the war were very great, the quotations usually being 
much above two hundred. The extreme limit was reached 
July n, 1864, when gold sold for 285^, making the value of 
the greenback thirty-five cents. This extreme quotation was 
due in part to reverses met by the Army of the Potomac, 
and partly caused by an act of Congress which, as a piece 
of financial legislation, may certainly be called unique. 

Having carefully prepared the soil that would inevitably 
produce speculation and watered it assiduously for two years 
with legal tender until all large business transactions had been 
brought to that complexion, the government officials at Wash- 
ington were grievously disturbed by the increasing quotations 
for gold, which they ascribed to speculation, and which were 
certainly alarming. 

Now it may be a fair matter of discussion whether specula- 
tion did or did not increase the daily quotations. Every buyer 
must have a seller, and where one party was trying to raise the 
price by speculative purchases the other party either thought 
the price as high as it would go or that the price could be 
lowered by speculative sales. 

Might it not be that these contesting efforts would balance 
each other, and the price be regulated by the quantity of cur- 
rency in circulation as compared with the uses for it, the lack 


of public confidence, and, more than all else, by the movements 
of the armies with the hopes inspired by successes or the dismal 
forebodings that followed reverses ? 

However that may have been, there was no question as to 
the fact, and Congress took measures to lessen the speculation 
which, in their judgment, was the cause of it. 

This was attempted by an act approved June 17, 1864, 
which prohibited sales of gold except for immediate payment 
in greenbacks or bank notes and immediate delivery at the 
place of business of the seller; or the sale of foreign exchange 
except upon the same terms, with the added permission to buy 
or sell exchange to be paid for and delivered within ten days. 
This at once caused a great commotion in the commercial 
centres, as it would practically work an embargo upon many of 
the largest transactions. It was largely the practice, and very 
much a necessity, for shippers to make purchases and sales of 
produce as practically one transaction. The sum required for 
purchase money would be provided by the sale of the exchange 
that would result from the shipment of the merchandise to 
some foreign port, the advances made by the banker being 
secured by a lien upon the property until it was on shipboard 
and the exchange covered by the ship's bills of lading in the 
usual manner. It would obviously be impracticable to deliver 
such exchange at the office of the seller in Chicago and to be 
paid for it there in greenbacks or bank notes, while the prod- 
uce might be out somewhere on the prairies and not be on 
board ship at New York for several weeks. 

To have sent such merchandise forward without "covering" 
by the realization of the proceeds would have made the tran- 
saction a purely speculative one, with constant fluctuations in 
price following the quotations for gold, up or down, with the 
possibility of profit or loss as the market might go. There 
was much of this, of course, but the careful trader or one 
of moderate capital could safely do business only as I have 

Of course Congress began at once to hear from large ex- 
porters especially of agricultural products. From New York 
protests went to Washington in regard to the provision of the 
law prohibiting the use of checks in payment for foreign ex- 
change, and within three or four days the Solicitor of the 


Treasury decided that checks upon local banks where the 
money was deposited and payable on demand might be re- 
ceived instead of greenbacks or bank notes. 

As usual, I will give a leaf from my own experience. Our 
firm had money on deposit which might sooner or later be 
used in the purchase of exchange. Not knowing what fantastic 
scheme might next win the favor of Congress, I concluded to 
send it along to a safe place. 

I went over to New York to buy the exchange and, not 
daring to rely entirely upon a bank draft to pay for it, as it 
was clearly illegal, I drew seventy thousand dollars in green- 
backs and took a draft for an equal amount. I could get only 
small bills, probably fives to twenties, so that I had a parcel 
well on to the size of a bushel basket and quite heavy. With 
this and the draft in my pocket I started for New York, taking 
with me a clerk to assist in handling the package of greenbacks. 
I left him at the Astor House sitting on the greenbacks while 
I went down to Wall Street to buy the exchange. I do not 
know whether the Solicitor of the Treasury had given his 
opinion just referred to, but probably not, unless it was on that 
very day. Otherwise, if I had known of it I should have taken 
only drafts. At any rate, whatever the status of the law, I had 
no difficulty whatever in passing the draft. Neither the bankers 
nor I felt in much danger of being sent to jail for such a ne- 
farious crime. I paid 260 for that exchange, being equal to 
about 237 for the gold. This was the highest-priced purchase 
made by me during the Civil War. 

The New York quotation for gold which on June 18 was 195 
on July 11 stood at 285. Instead of lowering the price, as was 
looked for at Washington, there was an advance of 90 per cent. 

The statute to which I have referred was repealed July 2, 
1864, having been in force fifteen days. "The wisdom of 
Congress," to which we are accustomed to look for the remedy 
for all our woes, for once had failed us! 

As may be supposed, such violent changes made all business 
operations extremely hazardous. I can give an illustration 
from my own experience which will serve as a sample of the 
uncertainties of that period. A large ship-owner of Ports- 
mouth, New Hampshire, who usually sold our firm the exchange 
resulting from the freight earnings of his ships, came in one 


morning with a bill on London for five thousand pounds 
sterling. I knew the quotation at which gold had closed 
in New York the previous day, and told him what I would 
pay for it. He said that he had not made any inquiry and 
that he would run down to State Street and be back in 
half an hour. I said, "All right, but my offer does not stand. 
Come back in half an hour and we will start again." The 
result was that he came back in half an hour and sold me the 
exchange for three thousand dollars less than my first offer. 
Before he had been gone many minutes I received a telegram 
from New York that gold had fallen twelve per cent or so, 
which made his bill worth so much the less. Such changes, 
sometimes one way and sometimes the other, were occurring 
all the time and could not be foreseen. It does not require 
much business experience to perceive the annoyance and 
anxiety that must accompany such a condition. Everything 
was then depending upon the action of the armies, and in that 
summer we sustained some terrible reverses. The war had 
been prolonged beyond all expectation, and although the nation 
continued hopeful and confident it could not be disguised that 
there was great danger. The gold quotations were the ba- 
rometer which showed the possibilities, and perhaps the proba- 
bilities, of the future. When the value of the greenback had 
gone to thirty-five cents, it certainly showed that confidence 
was very much impaired and the future in doubt. 

The triumphant re-election of President Lincoln in Novem- 
ber, 1864, was a staggering blow to the Confederacy, and thence- 
forward there were signs that the Southern cause was surely 
wearing out, and fortunately for us the great successes of our 
army brought the rebellion to an end in April, 1865. 

Of infinitely more importance than any possible losses to 
individuals was the imminent danger from currency conditions 
to the national cause. We hardly dared at that time to con- 
sider what would happen if the war should continue for another 
year, but no harm can result in considering it after the lapse 
of fifty years. 

If the currency had been kept upon a sound basis, or any- 
where near it, the resources of the North and the patriotic de- 
votion which never quailed were sufficient to have carried on 
the war for years. 


With the continuance of the war, military reverses, and the 
little to be hoped for from the sale of bonds, the flood of legal 
tender that would have been inevitable would undoubtedly 
havej carried gold upward by leaps and bounds, very likely re- 
ducing the greenback to a merely nominal value, with possibly 
a collapse that would have meant financial chaos. 

We were unquestionably skating upon very thin ice, with 
dangers that have never been fully realized. I know that they 
caused me some sleepless nights in the summer of 1864. 

Though at the risk of being thought guilty of a little self- 
laudation, I will mention one other detail relating to the five- 
twenty bonds, as it has some historical significance. 

In September, 1867, a movement was started by Senator 
Pendleton of Ohio, which was seconded and taken up by Gen- 
eral B. F. Butler of Massachusetts, to call in the five-twenty 
bonds then outstanding, amounting to more than twelve hun- 
dred millions, paying them in currency then worth about sev- 
enty per cent in gold, with a view of refunding them at a lower 
rate of interest. This scheme was advocated by General Butler 
in a communication to the New York Tribune, plausible but 
full of mis-statements, which was copied in the Boston Daily 
Advertiser of October 3d. I was very well informed upon 
that subject and was able to show conclusively, as I did in the 
columns of the Daily Advertiser two days later, that the bill 
authorizing the five-twenties made the duties upon imports 
payable in coin and pledged them not only for the interest upon 
the five-twenties, but also for the principal of the whole public 
debt, and that, in reply to constant inquiries during the sale 
of the five- twenties, the Treasury Department had definitely 
stated that the five-twenties as well as all the other public 
debt were payable at maturity in coin. I said further that the 
attempt to discharge a debt not due for fifteen years in paper 
currency worth but seventy cents on the dollar would be a gross 
breach of the public faith, not to be considered for a moment 
by any nation claiming to be honest. 

The matter was beginning to excite great attention in the 
public mind, and the proofs which I adduced were so conclu- 
sive that my communication was at once copied in many of ; the 
leading newspapers of this country and by the London Daily 
News. Mr. John M. Forbes and a few others, who had been 

1012.] CANNING TO VAUGHAN, 1826. 233 

connected with the Loyal Publication Society of the Civil 
War, resuscitated the machinery of that Society and sent this, 
and other articles which followed it, to practically every news- 
paper in the Northern and Western States. Thus the editors 
of the country papers, not likely to be very well informed upon 
financial questions, were furnished with material which enabled 
them to combat the sophistries and false statements advanced 
in support of the proposed scheme. 

It was thought at the time that the broadsides sent out by 
the Loyal Publication Society had an important influence in 
educating public opinion throughout the North and West. 

The Democratic party was very generally committed to this 
attempt at repudiation, but the Republican party mustered 
the courage to put in their platform of 1868 a plank denouncing 
any attempt to pay the bonds of the United States until they 
could be paid in gold or its equivalent. 

The first legislative act of General Grant's administration 
made this secure by declaring that all the bonds of the United 
States should be payable in coin. 

I have now brought these rambling recollections down to a 
period within the memory of those whom I see about me, and 
I will leave it to them to take up my task and chronicle the 
changes of the coming years. 

The Editor read a paragraph on the Monroe Doctrine from 
the following despatch, which had been sent to him by 
Prof. Ephraim D. Adams, of Leland Stanford, Jr. University, 

Canning to Vaughan. 

F. O. America 209. Vol. 10. For. Off., Feb. 8, 1826. 

Secret and Confidential. 

Sir, — By your Despatch marked "Secret and Confidential" of 
the 21st of December last, it appears that in a Conversation with 
the American Secretary of State upon the subject of Cuba, You 
suggested an interference by the United States of America to dis- 
suade the Mexicans and Columbians from making any attack upon 

You will not find in your instructions any authority to hold this 
language. The matter of Cuba is one which was, as you know, 



brought into discussion between the British and American Govern- 
ments last summer, and if it had been intended that you should 
treat with the Secretary of State of the United States in a matter so 
delicate, as the proposed interference of neutral Powers to controul 
the legitimate operations of belligerents against each other, You 
would not have been left without Instructions, upon a point of as 
much novelty, as delicacy and importance. 

If the United States think their interests likely to be affected by 
the continuance of the war between Spain and the new transat- 
lantick States, they are probably right, and perfectly at liberty to 
employ their good offices to bring about a pacification. 

We have long endeavoured to do so, but in vain; and Spain has 
been uniformly the recusant party. 

If the United States think that particular interests of their own 
require that a certain operation of war should not be undertaken by 
one of the Belligerents, — it is a question, and a very nice one for 
them, how they will prevent the undertaking of it ; but it is mani- 
fest that we have not the like interest, either to induce or to justify 
us in so unusual an interposition. 

If there were any thing in the attack upon an insular Possession 
of Spain by a Power, openly and lawfully at war with Her, which 
was beyond the rights of war, or contrary to those of humanity, 
there might be some grounds of interference, on the part, not of 
the United States only, but of all Neutral Powers. But if it be 
merely the interests of the United States that are concerned, that 
ground of interference can only belong to them, nor is there any 
obligation upon us, to share the odium of such an interposition. 

The general maxim that our interest and those of the United 
States are essentially the same, etc., etc., is one that cannot be too 
readily admitted, when put forward by the United States. 

But we must not be the dupes of this conventional language of 

The avowed pretension of the United States to put themselves at 
the head of the confederacy of all the Americas, and to sway that 
confederacy against Europe, (Great Britain included), is not a pre- 
tension identified with our interests, or one that we can countenance 
as tolerable. 

It is however a pretension which there is no use in contesting in 
the abstract; but we must not say anything that seems to admit the 

I trust you have not written to Mr. Ward in the sense of your 
Despatch to me. If you have done so, I beg that you will immedi- 
ately write to him again, (but by a safe conveyance), to desire him 
to consider what you had before written as cancelled. 


Further I have only to desire that you will not revert to the sub- 
ject with Mr. Clay; and if he shall revert to it with you, that 
— you will simply say — that you have no Instructions to enter 
upon it. 

I need hardly add, that you are not, on any account, nor at any 
time, to let the substance of this Despatch transpire to the American 

[George Canning.] 

Petitions for Lafayette's Release. 1 

Hamburg 10 January 1796. 

An address of the American citizens now in the port of Hamburg 
to John Parish Esqr. Consul of the United States. 

We the underwritten citizens of America, now at Hamburg and 
other places within your consulship, beg to make a request, which 
if attended with the success that may be expected from it, would 
become singularly serviceable to the United States in general, and 
individually so to each member thereof. 

It is but too well known that on the 19th of August, 1792, General 
La Fayette, ever faithful to the principles of liberty and vertue 
which rendered him so dear to us, was obliged to leave France and 
take shelter in a neutral country, and had the misfortune to fall 
into the hands of the allied powers. In their different prisons, he has 
experienced the most rigorous treatment, and his health has been 
exposed to continual danger. During the last eighteen months he 
has been closely confined in the fortress of Olmiitz with two friends 
of respectable character, Mr. de la Tour Maubourg and Mr. de 
Pusy, without being allowed to hold any communication with them. 
And whilst in virtue of treaties of peace, exchange of prisoners both 
military and civil, prisoners on all sides have been released; and not- 
withstanding the measures taken by the ambassadors of the United 
States at various courts, together with those of particular envoys, 
and the claims of the friends of humanity of every country, it has 
yet proved impossible to obtain the liberation of our worthy fellow- 

The underwritten citizens, deeply concerned at his afflicting 
situation (a situation rendered still more so, as his lady now partici- 
pates in all its severity) wish to avail themselves of the ties of friend- 
ship and commerce subsisting between the Danish and American 
nations, in order to lay before the court of Copenhagen their wishes 

1 From the Adams Mss. 


and solicitations that that power would be pleased to become medi- 
ator with the imperial court in behalf of the restoration of the 
General to our fellow citizens, and to his son, who is already arrived 
at Boston. And we likewise beg to observe that it would not be 
less becoming the wisdom and humanity which distinguish that 
court to represent to the cabinet of Vienna that the deliverance of 
General La Fayette and his two friends would be (as it has been re- 
peatedly said in the parliament of Great Britain by senators as 
learned as patriotic) an indispensable preliminary to convince 
governments and all well disposed men of the justice and moderation 
of his imperial majesty. Moreover, if it were possible that the pe- 
culiar situation of General La Fayette should, for want of suitable 
objects, still furnish pretexts of delay, you will have the goodness 
to inform us, what sum the powers which detain him are pleased to 
require for his ransom. 

Such, Sir, is the unanimous resolution and request of the citizens 
of the United States, who are in the cities and ports within your 
consulship, and who are, Sir, 

Your most obedient humble Servants, 

John Gregory, of Petersburg, Virginia. 

Z. Hen. Muir, of Philadelphia. 

W. St. John, of New York. 

W. A. St. John, of New York. 

Barbazan, of C's Town, S. Carol: 

Wyatt St. Barbe, of Massachusetts. 

John Coode, of Savannah. 

Benj'n Fernald, of Boston. 

Rob't Wilson, of Philadelphia. 

James Erving, of Philadelphia. 

Melutuceh Clapp, of Boston. 

Mark Riley, of New York. 

James Baxter, of Philadelphia. 

Dederic Tegeler, of C's Town. 

John Soren, of Boston. 

Tho's Blake, of New York. 

John Smith, of Philadelphia. 

Peter York, of Pennsylvania. 

Wm. Appleton, of Portsmouth. 

John Fleming, Baltimore. 

William Coggeshall, Boston. 

Edmund Upton, Salem. 

John Groves, Baltimore. 

Wm. Skinner, Massachusetts. 

John Ward, of New York. 


These are to certify, That the aforegoing is a true Copy of the 
Original deposited at my Office. Given under my Hand and Seal, 
Hamburgh the 2 2d January, 1796. 

J. Parish, 
Consul for the United States of America. 
Seal of the 
at Hamburg. 

To the honourable John [Quincy] Adams, Esquire, Minister plen- 
ipotentiary from the United States to the Republic of Holland. 

We, the underwritten citizens of the United States, now in the 
cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and other places belonging to the 
Republic of Holland; after having perused the memorial addressed 
to John Parish Esqr. consul of the United States, at Hamburg, 
unanimously signed by our fellow-citizens in the towns and ports 
of Germany within the limits of his consulship, have entirely adopted 
the sentiments and wishes contained in the said memorial. We 
have considered too with satisfaction that the minister to whom we 
naturally make our application belongs himself to a family distin- 
guished among the most eminent co-operators in our happy and 
vertuous revolution; and, that in lamenting the unheard of perse- 
cution on the part of so many governments against a single man, we 
address ourselves to you, Sir, who bear one of the names which in 
the American war were honoured by a particular proscription on 
the part of a government at that time inimical; and we make the 
following declaration. 

We leave to the annals of history to determine upon General 
Lafayette's conduct in the French revolution, and to politicians to 
decide whether the enemies of that revolution ought to wish for the 
absence of a chief, who has been always strenuous to establish it on 
the basis of justice and humanity; We will satisfy ourselves with 
observing, that although the whole tenour of his life ought to render 
him dear to the true friends of liberty, it is not less true that his 
open and generous conduct on all occasions, (extended even to his 
declared enemies and often at the peril of his life) must have com- 
manded the esteem, and in certain personal instances, even the 
gratitude of men of all opinions and parties. 

But what we have to represent (and what we should develope with 
more detail were we not addressing a fellow-citizen himself partak- 
ing in these universal sentiments of gratitude and affection for 
General Lafayette) is the enthusiasm that in the moment in which, 
bereft of all assistance in Europe, our affairs seemed on the verge 


of ruin, stirred up this youthful defender of our cause; it is his un- 
remitting and signal services, when in the midst of danger and diffi- 
culty at the expence of his fortune and blood, his talents both mili- 
tary and political were so efficaciously devoted to the United States; 
it is the testimonies of affection and public confidence, testimonies 
which no man, in any country whatever, experienced in a higher 
degree than the general has in each and all of our republics; it is, 
above all, that anxiety for his welfare, that impatience to see him 
again on our shores, which is so feelingly expressed in the letters 
we receive from America; and to which we are obliged to answer 
" that whilst prisoners of every description who have been taken in 
the present war have, in one mode or other, been exchanged, Gen- 
eral Lafayette and his two friends remain languishing in their close 
and rigorous confinement." 

Far be it from us, Sir, to accuse with negligence those men in a 
public capacity, or the private friends of the general, who ought or 
who have had it in their power, to co-operate in his deliverance; 
we are persuaded, that for three years past, the most suitable and 
expedient measures have been taken by our government, the prin- 
cipal magistrate of which is attached to the unfortunate general 
by all the ties of paternal friendship. We know the American Am- 
bassadours at every court have used unremitting endeavours in his 
behalf, and that private agents have been sent to the powers which 
detain him. It is with pleasure we recollect that in the bold attempt 
made a year ago to release him, two Americans were associated in 
the generous enterprize. 1 We have seen the honourable claims 
which have been made on the part of the friends of humanity in 
every country, and it is with the profoundest sentiments of admira- 
tion and gratitude that we ought to thank the liberal and patriotic 
members of the English parliament, who have frequently, and in 
so eloquent a manner reprobated this detention, of the injustice 
of which they were so feelingly sensible; and who in their endeavours 
to clear the government of their own nation from all suspicion of 
having any part in it, make us still more convinced how greatly 
it concerns the honour of America to manifest its claims respecting 
the general's deliverance. 

It is nevertheless, Sir, but too true (and men of worth express their 
surprise thereat, and such as are fond of relying on the good in- 
tentions of the allied powers feel extreme uneasiness, and particu- 
larly the citizens of the United States are deeply afflicted) that the 
measures taken relative to the general for three years past, have 
only produced his removal from prison to prison; and, without 
entering into the detail of his successive places of confinement and 
1 Erick Bollman and Francis Kinloch Huger. 


the sufferings both mental and corporeal which he has undergone, 
we will confine ourselves to observe that for the last nineteen months 
he has been a close prisoner in the citadel of Olmutz, as also have 
his two faithful companions, Mr. delatour Maubourg and Mr. de 
Pusy, who like himself, during the course of the French revolution, 
have incessantly manifested themselves the friends of liberty and 
public order, and the strenuous adversaries of every thing that 
militated against these two grand bases of national welfare; that 
since their entrance into this prison they have not been allowed to 
hold the least communication together, that for a year past, General 
Lafayette has not been permitted to speak to his servant; and (what 
we may venture to call an unheard of refinement in cruelty) his 
servant was not allowed during the dangers which menaced his 
family, to answer him, in one single instance, whether his lady and 
children were or were not in existence. 

We know, indeed, that his worthy lady a few months since, after 
having herself almost miraculously escaped the fate to which another 
government (that of which Robespierre was the head) had destined 
her; after having long lingered in a prison, the rigours of which were 
embittered by misfortune and disquietude of mind, embarked, by 
virtue of a passport granted her by the French republic on board 
an American vessel, that she has sent her son to America, as it were 
by way of earnest of the General's intention to return thither as 
soon as possible; that accompanied by her two daughters she has 
taken the affecting resolution of burying herself in a new prison; 
and that in order to behold again a husband and a father so dear to 
their hearts, they were obliged to submit to partake in all the pri- 
vations and rigours of his confinement, the knowledge of which has 
reached us, and are such as we are convinced, are unknown to the 
sovereign in whose name they are exercized. 

Till of late, Sir, we have not even ventured to doubt but that the 
obstacles in the way of the general's liberation would be removed, 
either out of respect to justice and the law of nations, or the consid- 
erations of decent policy; or on account of public and private meas- 
ures taken by the Americans; or the motives suggested by enlight- 
ened and feeling men of every country or, in fine, through the 
circumstance of the exchange of prisoners, and above all, through 
the reflections which the arrival of this interesting family is calcu- 
lated to excite; but, since nothing has yet been able to open his 
prison gates; since the present powers to be applied to on this oc- 
casion appear to be now reduced to two only, and that a portion of 
the English government, which though far from being friendly to 
the person or cause of the general have nevertheless declared, in 
parliament even, that they should not contribute to his detention, 


and whilst, on the other hand, the court of Vienna and their am- 
bassadours positively declare that his deliverance does not solely 
depend on them, we address ourselves to you, Sir, to entreat you 
to endeavour to clear up this inexplicable mystery. The post you 
fill, together with our confidence in your sagacity, and the rights of 
the nation you represent; all concur in assuring us that you will 
neglect nothing to obtain the wished-for mediation of the Danish 
court, and that no expedient (that even of a ransom) will be untried 
by you in order to restore him to liberty, who has himself acted so 
nobly in her cause. 

Such are the sentiments and the earnest entreaties of the under- 
written citizens of the United States, now in the ports and towns of 
the Dutch republic; and who have the honour to be, 

Your obedient humble Servants 

[No signatures.] 

Remarks were made during the meeting by Messrs. Ford, 
Sanborn, Storey and T. L. Livermore. 



THE stated meeting was held on Thursday, the 12 th instant, 
at three o'clock, p. m.; the first Vice-President, in the ab- 
sence of the President, in the chair. 

The record of the last meeting was read and approved; and 
the Librarian read the list of donors to the Library during the 
last month. 

The Cabinet-Keeper reported the gift, by Horace Leslie 
Wheeler, of a Columbian badge used on Columbus Day in 
Boston, 191 2; by Leslie Talbot Baker, of a photograph of a 
daguerreotype of Daniel Webster; by Miss Sarah H. Blanchard, 
of a Psi Upsilon pin, a Phi Beta Kappa medal, and a silver 
key, with chain, bearing the engraved initials "S. G. I.," which 
belonged to Henry W. Haynes. 

The Editor reported the deposit, by William Sumner Apple- 
ton, of thirty-one volumes and parcels of manuscript material, 
being the papers of his grandfather Nathan Appleton, and the 
genealogical material prepared by his father, William Sumner 

The Editor also presented the draft of a Memorial, approved 
by the Council, urging upon Congress the erection in Washing- 
ton of a National Archives Building. It was voted that the 
memorial be referred back to the Council, to be signed by the 
President, by vote of the Society and by the authority of the 

Edwin Francis Gay, of Cambridge, was elected a Resident 
Member of the Society. 

Southern Newspapers Printed on Wall-Paper. 

In presenting to the Society an issue of the Opelousas Courier, 
April 25, 1863 (vol. 11. no. 24), printed upon wall-paper, which 
had been in his possession since about 1868, Mr. Norcross 
called attention to these curiosities of the Civil War, of which 



quite a number were printed but examples are now rare. The 
wall-paper permitted an impression to be made on only one 
side of it, the other being a more or less fancy pattern or colored 
figure. The quality of the paper was such as to make preserva- 
tion difficult, and the edition was, as a rule, small in number. 
It has been a tradition that because of the scarcity of paper 
in the South during the war the printers of these newspapers 
were obliged to use whatever material they could obtain, and 
so resorted to wrapping and wall-papers. In fact the larger 
number of these issues was made by the federals, as the con- 
tents of the papers show. On occupying a town, the federal 
troops would find the forms of the journal ready for printing, 
and, leaving the columns of advertisements unchanged, they 
would compose news columns of their own, and print the forms 
on whatever paper they could get. 

The Opelousas Courier, established in 1852, was, at the out- 
break of the war, a weekly paper, published in French and 
English, at Opelousas, Louisiana, by Joel H. Sandoz. It is 
still printed, at the same place by Leonce Sandoz. In 1862 
Opelousas was the capital of St. Landry parish, on the New 
Orleans, Opelousas and Great Western (now the Louisiana and 
Texas) Railroad, about fifty miles west of Baton Rouge. It 
was then the seat of Franklin College, founded in 1839, but 
that institution is no longer in existence. The federal troops, 
under Major General Banks, occupied Opelousas April 20, 1863. 
The Boston Public Library has a copy of Le Courier des Ope- 
lousas, dated April 18, and printed on wall-paper; that it was 
printed by the federal troops is proved by its having on the 
same piece an issue of the Opelousas Courier, April 22, an Eng- 
lish sheet. 

The Society already possessed a copy of La Sentinelle de 
Thibodaux, October 25, 1862 (vol. 11. no. 31), which is a true 
Confederate issue. This also was a weekly, published in French 
and in English by Francois Sangan, and had only recently been 
established — in 1861. This newspaper also survived the war, 
and is still published by H. R. Dupre. 

The Library of Congress has the Natchitoches Union, Natchi- 
toches, Louisiana, April 2, 1864. 

The American Antiquarian Society possesses two issues of 
the Southern Sentinel, printed at Alexandria, Louisiana, March 


21 and 28, 1863, being the first two numbers of volume i. It 
also has two issues of the Vicksburg, Mississippi, Daily Citizen, 
both dated July 2, 1863, but one was in fact printed on July 2, 
and the other on July 4. The first has been issued in facsimile, 
as the last Confederate newspaper printed in Vicksburg, by 
Edmund M. Hatches, of Columbus, Ohio, and again by the 
Gage Tool Company, of Vineland, New Jersey. The second 
issue, "set up for printing July 2, before the surrender of the 
place to General Grant, and issued by his order July 4," was 
also reproduced in 1885, at Dunkirk, New York, with an addi- 
tional column containing an obituary notice of Grant. J. M. 
Swords was the proprietor of the Daily Citizen. A copy of the 
issue made on July 4 is in the Pennsylvania Historical Society. 
The Library of Congress has issues of the Daily Citizen on 
wall-paper, of June 18, 20 and the two of July 2, 1863. 

Thus eleven issues of Southern newspapers printed on wall- 
paper during the Civil War have been traced. 

In this connection may be mentioned the evening edition of 
the Memphis Daily Appeal, March 20 and 22, 1862, two num- 
bers printed on bright green paper, much smaller in size than 
the usual edition, but printed on both sides of the sheet. The 
issue of March 24 was printed on bright yellow paper. Ex- 
amples of these three papers are in the Boston Public Library. 

In 1894 a strike in transportation held up a supply of paper 
intended for the Whiting (Indiana) News, and its issue of July 
6, 1894, appeared on wall-paper. 

Dr. Green then said: 

I wish to communicate some letters and other manuscripts 
which are the gift of Dr. Lincoln R. Stone, of Newton. They 
are of interest as they relate to matters connected with early 
events during the War of the Rebellion, and to a certain extent 
they supplement the papers given by our late associate Mr. 
Josiah P. Quincy, at the meeting on February 13, 1908, 1 as 
well as those given by Mrs. William B. Rogers at the meeting 
on June 1 1 of the same year. 2 Apparently all these documents 
came from a common source. To this there is an easy explana- 
tion of the fact. Dr. Stone, who gives the papers now pre- 

1 Proceedings, xli. 326. 2 lb., 509. 


sented, was the assistant surgeon Second Regiment, Massa- 
chusetts Volunteers; Gen. S. M. Quincy, from whose papers 
came the collection presented on February 13, 1908, was com- 
missioned originally as captain of the Second Massachusetts 
Volunteers, and was serving as such during the early part of 
the war; and Mrs. Rogers's brother, James Savage, was a 
captain also in this regiment. It will thus be seen that these 
military officers all belonged to the same regiment; and pre- 
sumably the papers came from the same files. Dr. Stone was a 
fellow student of mine at the Harvard Medical School, and 
later we were comrades together in the army. 

Andrew Hunter 1 to J. Harrison Kelly. 

Charlestown, January 17th, 1859. 

My Dear Sir, — I believe it was in your paper, and through your 
partial kindness, that my name was first presented to the public as 
a suitable opposition candidate for the Governorship of Virginia. 
The suggestion has been repeated from many other sources, in con- 
nection with this or the office of Attorney General; and now from 
private information recently received, I have reason to believe it 
highly probable, should I remain silent, I may be honored by a 
nomination for one or the other of these high offices. 

This state of things places me in the embarrassing position, should 
I decline at once, if I may be allowed the homely phrase, of seeming 
to kick before I am spurred; while on the other hand my forbearing 
to do so within a proper time before the assembling of the Conven- 
tion, may subject me to the grave imputation of being wanting 
in frankness towards those, whose undoubted kind intentions have 
brought my name before the public. 

Allow me, therefore, in choosing the least of these evils, to ask 
through you who I am sure will rightly appreciate my motives, 
that my name may be withdrawn from all connection with either 
of these offices. 

Private and personal considerations and the utter absence of any 
desire for political preferment, would alone lead me without hesita- 
tion to this conclusion. Yet in the spirit of candor due to those 
to whom I am so much indebted for the proposed honor, I feel 
bound to add that there are considerations of public duty and of 

1 Andrew Hunter (1804-1888) was named, by Governor Wise, special prose- 
cutor of John Brown. Villard, John Brown, 485, 685. He was paid $1500 for this 


a political character in the way, which I cannot conscientiously 

These I forbear even to mention, much less to discuss, as my sole 
purpose in this is to withdraw my humble name from the public 
prints, back to the retirement in which it has rested, for a number 
of years past. Very truly your obt. Ser. 

Andrew Hunter. 

James Buchanan to Andrew Hunter. 

Washington, 17 December, 1859. 

My dear Sir, — Many thanks for your kind letter by Lieutenant 
Green: 1 I am gratified that you speak so highly of him. I believe 
he deserves all you say in his favor. 

It is a matter quite indifferent to me whether Stevens 2 shall be 
tried by the State or Federal Judiciary. I am anxious, however, to 
know at the earliest moment the decision of the Authorities in 
Virginia and this mainly on account of my Message. 3 I feel, there- 
fore, much indebted to you for your friendly offer to communicate 
it to me without delay. 

Yours very respectfully, 

James Buchanan. 

Richard Parker 4 to Andrew Hunter. 

Winchester, Tuesday morn'g, Dec. 26, 1859. 

My Dear Sir, — Your note of the 15th instant, written from 
Taylor's Hotel, by some carelessness was not received by me until 
last night. 

I am very clearly of opinion that Stevens should be tried in our 
State Court, and should not be surrendered to any other tribunals. 
His great offence was that of advising and encouraging our slaves to 
make insurrection, an offence against Virginia peculiarly, but not 
against the U. States. He is now in custody for this violation of our 
law, and no other Government has the right to demand his surrender 
for any alleged offence against it. They can only ask this after a 

1 Probably Israel Green, of the United States Marines, who led the attack 
upon Brown at the engine house, Harper's Ferry. Villard, 450, 642. 

2 Aaron Dwight Stevens. Wise in November thought Stevens could better 
be tried in the United States District Court, but was opposed to such a move in 
December. Proceedings, xli. 329, 516; Villard, 477, 478. 

3 His third annual message was dated December 19, 1859, but its reference 
to the Harper's Ferry affair does not mention the question of courts. 

4 Presided at the trial of John Brown and his followers. Villard, 644, 


trial in our courts, and his acquittal or suffering the punishment we 
may impose upon him. 

I do not pretend to know by what writ or order, a man indicted 
of felony and in custody, can be removed from without the juris- 
diction of the Circuit Court in which he is so indicted. I have 
thought he must remain in that custody, until he is discharged by 
the entry of a Nolle Prosequi, or by acquittal, unless indeed he be 
bailed out in the cases provided by law, when his custody is changed 
from the jail of the proper county to his bail. 

If delivered up to the United States, for what offence can they 
try him? Not for exciting insurrection amongst our slaves, for that 
is an offence against us, but not against them. Nor for the murder 
of our citizens, for no such murder was committed in any place 
within the exclusive jurisdiction of the U. States. 1 Boerley, Beckham, 2 
and Turner 3 were each of them when killed outside of the Harper's 
Ferry purchase. Then he can be tried in the Federal Court solely 
for levying war against the United States. I will not inquire whether 
such a prosecution can be maintained, for I cannot conceive why 
Virginia should forego an investigation into these other serious 
offences perpetrated upon her citizens and against her institutions, 
which she alone can inquire into and punish. But really I do not see 
within the Commonwealth any arm long enough and strong enough 
to loosen the shackles which now bind this man under the regular 
commitment of law. 

I have been waiting to see what action the Legislature may take 
as to a special term in Jefferson. But for its interference I should 
order a special term for trial of Stevens. 

If Stevens alone be tried at such term, let me know whether you 
will want a Grand Jury. 

If such term be held, I should be glad to have other business done 
— as much as reasonably can be in two or three weeks. 

With kindest regards to all your family I am 

Yours truly, 

Richard Parker. 

Alexander R. Boteler to Andrew Hunter. 

Washington, Jan. 9th, '6o [1861]. 

My dear Sir, — Your letter of the 7th came to hand last night 
and I made it my first duty this morning to call on Col. Craig 4 in 

1 For opinion of Caleb Cushing, see Villard, 644. 

2 Fontaine Beckham. 3 George W. Turner. 

4 Henry Knox Craig, of Pennsylvania, chief of ordnance, 1851-1861. 


reference to the removal of arms from our Armory. I showed him 
that part of your letter upon the subject and assured him that it 
would make trouble and complicate all our difficulties if they at- 
tempted to transfer the arms to other points, especially to the North. 
He assured me that the requisition for 1000 rifles was strictly in 
conformity of the usual routine to keep up the regular supplies for 
the army, and to meet the annual demand of the States under the 
Act of 1808 for arming the Militia. It seems that the order you 
refer to is but the repetition of a former order made months ago and 
not in reference to the present state of affairs, and that a similar 
demand for the same number of guns for the same purposes was 
made on the same day at the Springfield Armory. I agree with 
you in the impolicy of making such requisitions at this time and I 
told the Chief of Ordnance that they would make serious trouble 
if repeated. 

A word now about the recent movement of troops to H[arper's] 
Ferry. So soon as I heard that Barbour 1 had requested the Depart- 
ment to send a U. S. guard there (and he did it in the consciencious 
conviction that it was his duty to do so as a sworn officer of the 
Federal Government and the custodian of its property), I drove 
immediately from the House to the Department and protested as 
energetically as I could against the movement and I felt sure from 
what was said to me on the subject by Col. Craig and Adjt. General 
Cooper 2 that the order would be countermanded and I was greatly 
surprised and troubled in learning that the guard had been sent. 
It was unwise, impolitic and ill-timed; but being there now the guard 
should be well treated, etc. 

Yesterday I told Genl. Scott that we all regretted the movement 
in question and he assured me that it was made without his knowl- 
edge, and was the only movement of late which he had not been 
consulted about. 

Things are getting worse here daily. I now can see no hope of such 
an adjustment as will be right for us to accept. The North seems de- 
termined to have the Union dissolved and I really fear that we will 
soon be obliged to abandon all hope and that civil war will be the 

I never was in such trouble in all my life, for what will we on the 
border be called on to do and to endure when the war breaks out? 

1 Alfred M. Barbour, Superintendent of the Harper's Ferry Armory and 
Arsenal, a son of James S. Barbour, and formerly in the Virginia legis- 

2 Samuel Cooper, of New York, adjutant general, 1852-1861. He served in 
the Confederate army 1861-1865, and died December 3, 1876. y 


Its horrible to think of but I cannot now see how it can be honorably 
averted - Yours truly, 


Henry A. Wise to Andrew Hunter. 

Richmond, April 2nd, '61. 

My dear Hunter, — I have been throttled by an influenza as 
by a bull dog's grip. It wont let go and has held so long I begin to 
fear the cough which lingers yet behind in my throat is "a church- 
yard cough." No matter, I can croak out of a rattling voice some 
speech-grenades among those traitors, or tardy true men. I dont 
know which is worst, yet I fear they are trying to slough off the 
Southern States and keep us in a Northern Confederacy where the 
deadfall of this crisis caught us. On this I arraign them as the worst 
Disunionists after all their preachment on Union. I fear I shall 
hardly have strength or lungs for a set speech, but shall try it, if at 
all, some time next week. There is heavy work before us this Spring, 
and on and on until we save this Commonwealth. If the People were 
ready I am ready to-day to go out of this house of bondage with the 
North, whose freedom is tyranny. But it is folly to tender naked 
Secession to Va. and risk final defeat forever. We must train the 
popular head and heart. To do that I started the call of a Select 
Convention with the sole end of thorough organization of a Resist- 
ance party for the spring elections. Once organized we will be ready 
to concert action for any emergency, mild, middle, or extreme. We 
may be driven to extremity; I dont mean to submit — never. The 
minds of men are made up on that. I think now there is some 
chance of making a show for a proposition for Virginia to resume 
her rights and powers, take a separate, independent position, make 
a Constitution, tender it to S. Confederates, Border States and free 
States and invite all again to join on our basis, take all who do and 
leave those who do not to abide events and their own time. This 
is the only chance of getting a New Union of most if not all the 
States worth having, on Virginia's own terms. So be sure to come 
on the 15th. 2 This convention may be gone, if not, you'll put a cold 
sweat on 'em. So come, be sure. And bring Lucas and every true 
man like him. Give him my best regards. And to Mrs. H. and 
family present cordially and sincerely, 

Your friend, 

Henry A. Wise. 

1 Alexander R. Boteler (1815-1892), elected a representative from Virginia to 
the Twenty-sixth Congress as a National American. 

2 Rhodes, History, in. 378. 


Judah P. Benjamin to Andrew Hunter. 

Confederate States of America, 
Department of Justice, 1 

Richmond, 15th Sept., 1861. 

Dr. Sir, — I have your favor of 13th inst. I do not know yet 
what the President's views may be, and there will not probably be 
any nomination made until November: but I will say to you frankly 
that I consider the board of Commissioners provided by the Se- 
questration act as a mere temporary court, to be succeeded by the 
Court of Claims. Now Judge Scarborough seems to me to have a 
position which makes it due to him that he should be continued in 
an office that he abandoned when his State seceded, and the inclina- 
tion of my mind at present is to tender the appointment to him, if 
the President agrees with me in opinion. Still your recommendation 
of Capt. Hoge 2 is so earnest that it will be taken into careful con- 
sideration and I will file it with the other papers on this subject to 
be submitted to the President at the proper time. 

You are my dear sir too well known to me by reputation, to make 
it at all necessary that I should enquire about the value to be at- 
tached to your recommendation. 

Yours respectfully, 

J. P. Benjamin. 

On behalf of Robert Marion Pratt, Dr. Warren presented 
to the Society a watch which had belonged to Dr. Mather 
Byles (1 707-1 788) of the Hollis Street Church, Boston. At 
his death it passed to the daughter, Catharine Byles, who left 
it by will to Mrs. Julia Goodnow, a companion. When the 
effects of Mrs. Goodnow were sold at auction on her death, 
this watch was purchased by G. W. Tratt. Dr. Warren read 
an account of the daughters of Dr. Byles, printed in a news- 
paper of 1837. The watch bears on its face the name of the 
maker, "Brown, Boston," and on the inside cover to the works 
"Gaw'n Brown, 186." It also has in the usual removable case 
a paper reading 

He that his watch would keep this must he do, 
Pocket his watch, and watch his pocket too. 

C. Byles. 

1 A printed heading on paper bearing in the upper left-hand corner the em- 
bossed stamp "U. S." 

2 John Blair Hoge (1825-1896), of Martinsburg, Virginia, now West Virginia. 



A curiously shaped key accompanies the watch. The tradition 
that the watch had been made in Boston, England, and had 
belonged to Rev. John Cotton, passing from him to the Mathers, 
cannot be maintained. Gawen Brown was a well-known watch- 
maker in Boston, and married, June 18, 1760, Elizabeth, daugh- 
ter of Dr. Byles by his first wife, Mrs. Anna (Noyce) Gale. 
The Boston Evening Post (January 16 and February 6, 1749) 
contained the following advertisement: 

This is to give Notice to the Public, That Gawen Brown Clock 
and Watchmaker lately from London, keeps his Shop at Mr. John- 
son's, Japanner, in Brattle-Street, Boston, near Mr. Cooper's 
Meeting House, where he makes and sells all sorts of plain, repeat- 
ing and astronomical Clocks, with Cases, plain, black Walnut, 
Mahogany or Japann'd, or without; Likewise does all Sorts of 
Watch Work in best Manner and sells all sorts of Clock Strings, 
London Lacker, and white Varnish for Clocks, a great variety of 
Files for Clock Work, Glasses or Chrystalls, Keys, Strings, Pendants 
for Watches &C. 1 

For a second wife he married, October 19, 1764, Elizabeth 
Adams. In 1769 he was living on King Street. In 1773, with 
James Bowdoin, Jr., he administered on the estate of William 
Bowdoin, and transferred some property in November, 1784. 

Mr. Hart read a paper on "The Presidency," showing the 
inevitable tendency to extend the powers of the office. 

Dr. Stimson's Diary, 1776. 

Mr. Stimson presented the manuscript of a fragment of a 
journal by Dr. Jeremy Stimson, with transcripts of two dis- 

1 The Society owns a memorandum book of Gawen Brown, 1753-54, contain- 
ing drawings of the works of clocks and dimensions of various parts. Among 
the sketches are the "hands of Mr. Franklin's machine," with stencil impres- 
sions of the completed hands. A "table of equation, showing how much a Clock 
or Watch ought to be Faster or Slower than a sun Dial any day of the Year," 
is supplemented by the statement that on April 16, June 18 and December 24 
there should be "no Equation of Time; a Good Dial and Clock must be exactly 
at the same minute." Mention is made of two London watchmakers, Thomas 
Reynolds of St. Martin's le Grand, and John Mintern. There are also the texts 
preached upon by Rev. George Whitefield in Boston, beginning October 9, 1754 — 
twenty-six in all. The farewell sermon in Boston was preached November 7, 
and was followed by two in Cambridge. 


courses, one entitled "Be Merry and Wise, or, A Guide to all 
Mankind," and the other, a sermon by Sterne, taken from the 
Sermons of Mr. Yorick. Dr. Stimson prepared the topograph- 
ical description of Hopkinton, Massachusetts, printed by the 
Society in 1794 (1 Collections, iv. 15). The Diary is as follows: 

Sept. 4th, [1776] Visitted the Sick as usu[el]. Lt. Drewry Lost 
Part of one of his Feet by a Cannon Shot from the Ship that went 
up the River no other Damage dun by the Ship as yet. 

Sept. 5th. two of our men killed to Day by a Cannon Ball. 
Did not Belong to our Regt. 

Sept. 6. Doct'r Frealand l continues Very Sick. Visited the 
Sick as usuel. Nothing Extrodinary hapned. 

Sept. 7. Visited the Sick as usuel. Nothing Extrodinary hapned. 

Sept. 8 & 9. Heavy Cannonadeing. no Damage Dun on our 

Sept. 10. Doct'r Frealand Began To Do Duty again. 

Sept. 11. Visited the Sick as usuel. Peacible on all Sides. 

Sept. 12 and 13. Nothing Extrordinary Hapned. 

Sept. 14th. Recv'd orders to Examing the Sick and send away 
such as are not Fit for Duty, this afternoon there was hevy Can- 
nonadeing From two Ships and 4 tenders, that went up the East 

Sept. 15th. the Regulars Landed at Horns Hook, our People 
was Put into Great Confusion. The Regulars made themselves 
masters of the City of N. York and the a Jacient towns as Farr as 
Harlem our People lost a Great deel of their Baggage by their 
Precipitate Retre [a t] . 2 

Sept. 16. Got the Sick Over Kings Bridge. Was much put to 
it to git any thing For their subsistance. 

Sept. 17th to Sept. 21st stay'd at Kings Bridge. Underwent 
a Great deel of Hardship arived at Horsneck the 21 at Night very 
sick. Bought a horse by the way For which I gave £9. 

Sept. 2 2d. Remained Sick. 

Sept. 23d. Got better Visited the sick Stayed at Horseneck From 
Sept. 2 2d. to Oct'r 15 and tended the Sick. Nothing Extrodinary 

Oct'r 15. Went to Camp and Doct'r Freeland Came out to 

1 James Freeland, of Sutton, surgeon in Col. Ebenezer Learned's regiment, 
and afterwards doctor in Col. Jonathan Holman's regiment. 

2 The battle of Harlem Heights occurred September 16. The events of these 
eight weeks are given in Johnston, Campaign of 1776 (Long Island Hist. Soc). 


Oct'r 1 6th. Visited the Sick in the Regt. which then Lay at 

Oct'r 17th. Had Orders From Gen'll Fellows 1 in the Morning 
before I was up to examin Holmans 2 and Carys 3 Reg'ts and send 
the sick Over to the Jerseys. 

Oct'r 18. The Hole Brigade had Orders to March From Harlem 
to East Chester But the Regulars ware there Before us and Shep- 
hards 4 and Redes 5 Reg'ts Briskly ingaged them but we was Cun- 
ning a nurfe not to meddle with the quarel But bore a way to the 
North to a town caled Mile square whare we incamped and Left the 
above named Reg'ts to Box it out with them who Fought Like 
Heroes till Over Power'd by No. they ware Obliged to Retreat with 
the Loss of a Good many Brave men. Staid at Milesquare 3 Days 
and Lay on Our Arms waiting for Orders and the Regulars Continued 
at Eastchester and with Scouting Parties Plunder'd the Ajacient 
Towns. . * 

Oct'r 21. Received Orders 9 Ocloc[k] at Night to strike Our tents 
and March to the white Plains which was about 10 Miles whare we 

Oct'r 22d. had an Alarem the Brig'd March'd and took their 
Posts But no Enemy appear'd Returned home at night all well. 
Staid at the Plains till the 26 Oct'r. Rec'd Orders 10 Oclock at 
Night to strike Our tents and March a but 1 Mile on to a Large 
Hill. I Confm'd a Soldier for -insulting me. 

Oct'r 27th. Nothing Extrodinary Hapned. 

Oct'r 28th the Regulars attemted to storm Fort Washington 
but ware Repulsed with the Loss (as is Reported) of 500 Men. I 
Returned to Horsneck in the Evening. 

Oct'r 29th. our People Had a Brisk ingagement with the Enemy 
which Lasted From 9 oclock in the Morning till 3 in the After noon 
a great many Killed on Both sides, the Regulars Got the Ground. 
Coll. J. Holmans Regt. Behaved Extreemly well. . 

Oct'r 30. The Sick and wounded ware sent out to Horsneck. 

Oct'r 31. Drest the Wounded none Dangerious Except one 
Daniel Day of Capt. Woodburys 6 Comp. Coll. Holmans Regt. who 
Died Nov'r 7th with the Cramp. 

Remarks were made during the meeting by Messrs. W. R. 
Livermore, Long, Wendell, and Hart. 

1 John Fellows, brigadier general of Massachusetts militia, 1 776-1 780. 

2 Jonathan Holman, of Sutton. 3 Simeon Cary. 4 William Shepard. 

5 Joseph Read of Sutton. The Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revo- 
lutionary War makes no mention of service after 1775. 

6 Bartholomew Woodbury, of Sutton. 



THE stated meeting was held on Thursday, the 9th instant, 
at three o'clock, p. m. ; the first Vice-President, Dr. Green, 
in the absence of the President, in the chair. 

The record of the last meeting was read and approved; and 
the Librarian reported the list of donors to the Library since 
the last meeting. 

The Cabinet-Keeper reported the gift of a gold medal struck 
by order of Congress, June, 1874, to commemorate the one 
hundredth anniversary of American independence, also a table 
belonging to and used by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, from 
T. Jefferson Coolidge; of a photogravure of John Quincy 
Adams, after a painting by Copley in 1795, also helio types of 
Jonathan Boucher and Myles Cooper, from Mr. Ford; of a 
collection of paper money, from Mrs. George P. Sanger, of 
Boston; and of two photographs of the watch and seals used 
by Cotton Mather, from John Albree. 

The Corresponding Secretary reported the receipt of a letter 
from Edwin Francis Gay accepting his election as a Resident 
Member of the Society. 

Mr. Mead read a paper on 

Thomas Hooker's Farewell Sermon in England. 

At the meeting of the Society in April, 1910, 1 Mr. Ford com- 
municated a letter from Mr. Frederick L. Gay of Brookline, in 
which, referring to a paper which I read at the meeting of the 
Society in June, 1907, upon John Cotton's farewell sermon to 
Winthrop's company at Southampton, he called attention to an 
allusion to that sermon in William Coddington's Demonstration of 
True Love. Mr. Coddington there refers to "John Cotton's ser- 
mon " in a way that clearly shows the sermon meant was the fare- 
well sermon on " God's Promise to his Plantation " ; and the refer- 

1 Proceedings, xliii. 503. 




|a farvvell sermon. 

3* of MtJhomas Hookers ft 

«£§ Somtimcs Mintfter of Gods Word at Chainf. 3* 
^ jW inJF^brjbutnow of 2Vw England, 3^ 

If Preached immediately before his departure C 
Jg «**«/*# ENGLAND. <g 

Jg— ^ ^ $ 


lUUtlHtR, -3,4. 


rules to be pradUfed every day by 

converted Christians. 



|| Printed by GMx for George Edwards in the J 
^e Old Baity in Greene-Arbour,at the Signe. ^ 
„ff of the yyingtH. 1641. .^. 

jan. 1913.] hooker's farewell sermon. 255 

ences to this important sermon by so important a man on so 
important an occasion are so rare in our early literature, and 
the sermon itself had so largely dropped out of the knowl- 
edge or attention of later writers, that every such early refer- 
ence is peculiarly valuable. Mr. Gay, whose loving and intelli- 
gent work as a collector of early works relating to New England 
is so well known, and who has especially earned our gratitude 
by his presentation to the American Antiquarian Society of a 
volume of records of the Council for New England, has re- 
cently placed in my hands a fine copy of the first edition of the 
farewell sermon of Thomas Hooker, preached immediately 
before his departure from England, published in London in 
1 641. This sermon is undoubtedly known to many members 
of the Society, two copies of the second edition being in our 
Boston Public Library; and more are familiar with its character 
as outlined in the biographies of Hooker. But most of us are 
not so familiar with this historic sermon as we ought to be; 
and as the various farewell utterances of our fathers before 
their departure from England possess high interest, I submit 
this study concerning the farewell sermon by Thomas Hooker, 
upon "The Danger of Desertion," as supplementing in some 
sort the paper which I submitted upon John Cotton's farewell 
sermon on " God's Promise to his Plantation." By " the danger 
of desertion" Hooker meant England's danger of being de- 
serted by God. 

In connection with this general subject of farewell sermons 
in England, I would refer to a statement in the article upon 
John White of Dorchester, in the Dictionary of National Bi- 
ography. In speaking of the various movements to New Eng- 
land, the author of this article, Miss C. Fell Smith, says: " John 
Winthrop sailed in the Arbella, White holding a service on 
board before he sailed." I do not know upon what authority 
the writer makes this statement; but in the possibility that there 
may be some good authority unknown to me, I call attention 
to the reference as a starting-point for some investigation that 
may be fruitful. It is known that when the company which 
was to settle in our own Dorchester, the only company fully 
organized as a church before it left England, sailed from Ply- 
mouth, John White went from Dorchester to Plymouth and 
preached a sermon to the company. "They kept a solemn day 


of fasting," says Roger Clap in his memoir, "in the New Hos- 
pital in Plymouth, in England, spending it in preaching and 
praying; where that worthy man of God, Mr. John White of 
Dorchester, in Dorset, was present, and preached unto us the 
word of God in the fore part of the day." This sermon by 
John White has not come down to us, although it is not im- 
possible that it may yet sometime be discovered. It occurs 
to me that the writer in the Dictionary of National Biography 
may have confused this service at Plymouth with a service 
conducted by White on board the Arbella, or the latter with 
John Cotton's service at Southampton; but as to this I would 
not be confident. The reference is at any rate a provocative 

In connection especially with Hooker, I would mention the 
fact of Mr. Gay's possession not only of the copy of the first 
edition of Hooker's farewell sermon, but also of a copy of the 
first edition of his first published work, The Poor Doubting 
Christian Drawne unto Christ, one of the three works only by 
Hooker which were published before he left England. I men- 
tion this copy of the first edition of Hooker's first book because 
it is so rare. Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull, in his paper upon 
Hooker's published works, in which he quoted Sabin's state- 
ment, "This, the earliest and most popular of Hooker's works, 
first appeared in a collection of sermons entitled The Saints' 
Cordial, attributed to Sibbs," said, "I have not seen this col- 
lection, nor can I find any mention of the edition of 1629 except 
in H. Stevens's catalogue and in Sabin, who copied it from 
Stevens." It is a copy of this first edition which Mr. Gay 
possesses, included in a collection of twenty-nine sermons, 
this being the twenty- third, published under the- title of u The 
Saints' Cordials. As they were delivered in sundry sermons upon 
speciall occasions in the Citie of London, and else-where. Pub- 
lished for the churches good. London, Printed for Robert 
Dawlman dwelling at the Brazen-Serpent in Pauls Church- 
yard." l The names of the writers of the sermons are not given. 

1 The book was entered at Stationers Hall, April 2, 1629, with the title, The 
Saints Cordialls or A few legacies gathered together for, and left vnto them in Divers 
Sermons. Arber, Stationers Registers, iv. 176. Rev. Alexander Gordon, in his 
article on Sibbes in the Dictionary of National Biography, in. 182, gives 'two 
early editions of The Saints Cordials, printed in 1629 and 1637, and continues: 
"this contains ten sermons by Sibbes, with fifteen others." 


Most of the sermons have special title-pages; and although 
there is no date upon the general title-page, the special title- 
pages are all dated 1629. The sermon by Hooker, The Poor 
Doubting Christian, went to twelve editions in England before 
the close of the 17th century. The first American edition 
was printed in Boston in 1743, and contained an " Abstract 
of the author's Life," mostly taken from Mather, by Rev. 
Thomas Prince, a fact doubly noteworthy in view of the 
great general importance of the Prince Library to the student 
of Hooker's works. Of the two copies of the second edition of 
the farewell sermon, The Danger of Desertion, in the Boston 
Public Library, one is in the Prince collection; the other was 
added to the library, June 26, 1880, from the Townsend Fund. 
At the front of the Prince copy are two manuscript notes by 
Prince which have distinct importance in this study. The first 
is the statement that Hooker's sermon is a farewell sermon 
' 'preached just before his leaving England in July, 1633." 
The second is the statement that "The Rule of the New Crea- 
ture," included in the volume with The Danger of Desertion, 
is by Reyner. The natural implication of the title-page is that 
this work, like The Danger of Desertion, is by Hooker him- 
self. The title-page reads as follows: 

The Danger of Desertion: or A Farwell Sermon of Mr. Thomas 
Hooker, Sometimes Minister of Gods Word at Chainsford in Essex; 
but now of New England. Preached immediately before his de- 
parture out of old England. Together, With Ten Particular rules 
to be practised every day by converted Christians. London, Printed 
by G. M. 1 for George Edwards in the Old Baily in Greene-Arbour , 
at the Signe of the Angell, 1641. 

The title at the head of the first printed page of the sermon 
is "Mr. Hookers Farwell Sermon, At his departure out of 

The second edition was printed in the same year as the first, 
1 64 1. 2 The sixth edition of The Poor Doubting Christian 

1 Probably George Miller. 

2 The title-page of the second edition differs in the arrangement of lines and 

The Danger / of / Desertion: / or / a Farwell Sermon /of Mr. Thomas Hooker,/ 
sometimes/ Minister of Gods Word at Chainsford in Essex;/ but now of New England./ 
Preached immediately before his Departure out/ of Old England. / Together / With 





In One Se rmon, 

Wherein the maine letts and hindrances which fceepe men 
from commingto Chrift are diicovered and removed. 

Together with thehelpes andmeanesy>hich further Gods Qhildren in 

the obtaining of grace and fait b t &c. 

Chiefly tending 
To'lay open the neceffity and excellency of Chrift,and the promiics : 
To empty us of felfe-confidence, and refting in our felves : 
And to mow the wcaknefle and infuniciency of all carnall props and 
reafonings whatfoever. 

Vprightnes Hath Boldnes. 

E S A Y 55. I. 

Ho, every one that thirJleth,comeye to the Waters } and he that hath no money .come 
ye, luyand eate-,yea comefuy wine and milfa without money t and Tt-ithout price. 

Printed in the yeare 1 61 9. 

jan. 1913.] hooker's farewell sermon. 259 

was also published in 1641 — both of which facts show the 
popularity of Hooker's works at that time. I may state at 
this point that there is in the Congregational Library, whose 
collection of our early literature altogether is so rich, a copy of 
the first edition of Hooker's farewell sermon, although without 
the title-page. That it is the first edition is undeniable. The 
identification is made definite by the fact that in the first 
edition the last page of the Hooker sermon bears as a head- 
line the title of the Reyner part of the volume, "The Rule of 
the New Creature," which mistake is corrected in the second 
edition. 1 The library of our Society contains neither edition. 
Neither does the Boston Athenaeum, nor the State Library, 
nor the library of the New England Historic-Genealogical 
Society. The Harvard University Library contains a copy of 
the first edition. 

Were it not for Prince's note, the fact that the second work 
included in this little volume was not by Hooker himself might 
not easily have become known to the modern student; as the 
writings of Rev. Edward Reyner are among the last works to 
which most of us are likely to turn for the reading which would 
lead us to stumble upon the fact. The particular volume by 
Reyner, however, which enables one to verify Prince's state- 
ment may be found in the Boston Public Library. The volume 
is entitled "Precepts for Christian Practice; Or, the Rule of 
the New Creature. Containing Duties to be daily observed by 
every Beleever. By Edward Reyner, Minister of the Gospel in 
Lincoln. London, 1658." This edition in our Public Library 
is the "eleventh edition, enlarged." When the first edition 
appeared I do not know. The book is referred to in the article 

Ten Particv- /lar Rules to be practised every / day by converted Christians./ The 
second Edition./ London, / Printed for G. M. for George Edwards in the Old/ 
Baily in Green- Arbour at the Signe of /the Angell. 1641. The work was evi- 
dently reset for the second edition, which contains twenty-eight pages only. 

1 In 1667 Samuel Greene, printer at Cambridge, New England, printed 
The Ride of the New Creature, to be practised every Day, of which no copy is known 
to exist. On this Evans has the following curious and misleading note: "First 
printed anonymously in London in 1644. The 'Second edition, corrected, 
enlarged, and now published according to order' in 1645, W£ ts entitled 'Precepts 
for Christian Practice, or, the Rule of the New Creature.' " He also mentions an 
edition printed in Boston, in 1682, The Rule of a New Creature, to be practised 
every Day, 8vo., pp. 15, but gives no location of a copy. On Greene's issue see 
2 Proceedings, xi. 248. 


on Edward Reyner, in the Dictionary of National Biography, as 
being published with a preface by Edmund Calamy, but the 
first edition there mentioned is the eighth edition, 1655. All 
that we need to know, however, is that the first edition appeared 
before 1641, in time to be incorporated, without the author's 
name, in this little volume containing Hooker's farewell ser- 
mon. 1 Reyner was born in 1600 and died in 1668. That he had 
some vogue among New England readers in the 17 th century 
appears from the fact that his works on Rules for the Govern- 
ment of the Tongue (1656) and Treatise of the Necessity of 
Humane Learning for a Gospel Preacher (1663) appear in the 
catalogue of Increase Mather's library, although the work by 
him that now chiefly interests us does not there appear. The 
great changes which the work underwent from 1641, when it 
was incorporated in the Hooker volume, to 1658, when the 
enlarged eleventh edition appeared, are what first strike the 
reader of this eleventh edition; but comparison shows their 
common character and authorship. 

Thomas Hooker's farewell sermon upon The Danger of 
Desertion is almost the antithesis of John Cotton's farewell 
sermon on God's Promise to his Plantation. Cotton's sermon is 
a message of prophecy, encouragement and hope, albeit mixed 
with warning; Hooker's sermon is a message of denunciation 
and foreboding and almost of despair. Its text is Jeremiah, 

1 In his "preface" to the eleventh edition of his Precepts for Christian Prac- 
tice (1658), Reyner says: "Let mee give thee a short account of this my under- 
taking. About nineteen years ago, I handling that Text, Gal. 6. 16. As many as 
walk according to this Rule, &°c, delivered ten Rules for Christians, to walk by 
every day; which through Gods mercy and blessing then found acceptance 
with many. This occasioned my giving the heads thereof, in writing to many. 
Divers years after, I turning over a Sermon newly come forth under the name of 
that famous man of God Mr. Hooker (then in New-England, now in heaven) I 
found in the end thereof these my Rules affixed. Some years after that I heard 
they were printed alone, and that several times before I saw one of them. All 
this was done unknown to mee. But this I know, whosoever printed them, I 
preached them; as the Notes of my Sermon on that Text (which I have kept ever 
since) can give account. 

" The Stationer (who had the Copy of these Rules,) intending to reprint them 
now the eleventh time, moved me to prefix my Name, and (if I pleased) to add 
something to them." This edition was "printed for T. N. and are to be sold by 
John Clark, at Mercers Chappell in Cheapside, near the Great Conduit, 1658." 

It also contains a letter addressed "To the Reader," and signed Thomas Man- 
ton, in which the writer states: "When I first saw the ground work of it annexed 
to a Sermon of Mr. Hookers, I was much taken with it." 


hooker's farewell sermon. 261 

14, 9: "We are called by thy name, leave us not"; but the 
burden of the sermon is that God is leaving England, and this 
view is supported by a survey of the conditions in past periods 
and in other nations which had been left desolate, with stern 
impeachment of the conditions in England at that hour, and 
with solemn call to repentance. 

May not God which destroyed Shilo, destroy thee O England? 
Goe to Bohemia, from thence to the Palatinate, and so to Denmarke. 
Imagine you were there, what shall you see, nothing else but as 
Travellers say, Churches made heaps of stones, and those Bethels 
wherin Gods name was called upon, are made defiled temples for 
Satan and superstition to raigne in? You cannot goe two or three 
steps, you shall see the heads of dead men, goe a little further, and 
you shall see their hearts picked out by the fowles of the ayre, where- 
upon you are ready to conclude that Tilly hath been there; Those 
Churches are become desolate, and why not England? (P. 5.) 

I deale plainly with you, and tell you what God hath told me: I 
must tell you on pane of salvation, will you give eare and beleeve. 
I poore Embassador of God am sent to doe this message unto you, 
though I am low, yet my message is from above, he that sent 
me, grant that it may be beleeved for his sake. Suppose God hath 
told me this night that he will destroy England, and lay it waste, 
what say you brethren to it? It is my message that God bade me 
doe, he expects your answer, what sayeth thou oh England, I must 
returne an answer to my Master that sent me to night, why speake 
you not an answer? I must have one. Doe you like well of it, 
would you have England destroyed? (P. 14.) 

God will say, be he a King that rules or raignes, yet as he hath re- 
jected God, so God will reject him. He is a King. of Kings, and Lord 
of Lords. (P. 13.) 

God is packing up his Gospell, because no body will buy his 
wares, nor come to his price. Oh lay hands on God! and let him not 
goe out of your coasts, he is agoing, stop him, and let not thy God 
depart, lay siege against him with humble and hearty closing with 
him, suffer him not to say, as if that he were going, farewell, or fare 
ill England. God hath said he will doe this, and because that he 
hath said it, he will doe it, therefore prepare to meet thy God, 
England! (P. 15.) 

As it is said of Capernaum, so say I to England: Thou England 
which wast lifted up to heaven with meanes shalt be abased and 
brought downe to hell; for if the mighty works which have been done 
in thee had been done in India or Turky, they would have repented 


ere this; Therefore Capernaums place is Englands place, which is 
the most insufferablest torment of all; and marke what I say, the 
poore native Turks and Infidels shall have a cooler summer parlour 
in hell then you; for we stand at a high rate, we were highly exalted, 
therefore shall our torments be the more to beare. The Lord write 
these things in our hearts with the finger of his owne Spirit for his 
Christs sake, under whom we are all covered. (P. 20.) 

The last passage which I have read is the last passage in the 
sermon. This was Thomas Hooker's farewell to England. To 
understand the situation in England, we must remember that 
this was the time of Sir John Eliot's remonstrance against 
Charles's revival of monopolies and his new acts of tyranny, of 
the beginning of his eleven years' rule without Parliament, and 
the beginning of the domination of Wentworth and of Laud. 
This upon the assumption of Hooker's biographer, Dr. George 
Leon Walker, that the sermon was preached when Hooker was 
compelled by Laud to lay down his lectureship at Chelmsford 
and retire to Little Baddow, at the end of 1629 or the beginning 
of 1630, a little before he left England for Holland. If Thomas 
Prince's note is correct, and it was preached in July, 1633, 
just before his leaving England for New England, the situation 
was of much the same character, only worse. 

The most important reference to Hooker's farewell sermon 
in our early literature is that by Cotton Mather in his life of 
Hooker in the Magnolia. This account comes at the point in 
the narrative where Hooker is leaving England for New Eng- 
land, and the natural inference is that Mather understood that 
the sermon was preached at that time. There is, however, a 
reference farther on to a sermon preached by Hooker at Chelms- 
ford, which I think should have notice in this connection. 
Mather here speaks of one who, having " observed the Heroical 
Spirit and Courage with which this Great Man fulfilled his 
Ministry, gave this Account of him, He was a Person who while 
doing his Master's Work, would put a King in his Pocket" and 

Of this there was an Instance, when the Judges were in their 
Circuit, present at Chelmsford, on a Fast kept throughout the 
Nation, Mr. Hooker then, in the presence of the Judges, and before 
a vast Congregation, declared freely the Sins of England, and the 
Plagues that would come for such Sins; and in his Prayer he be- 

1913.] hooker's farewell sermon. 263 

sought the God of Heaven, to set on the Heart of the King, what his 
own Mouth had spoken, in the Second Chapter of Malachy, and the 
Eleventh and Twelfth verses, [in his Prayer he so distinctly quoted 
it!] An abomination is committed , Judah hath married the Daugh- 
ter of a strange God, the Lord will cut off the Man that doeth this. 
Though the Judges turned unto the place thus quoted, yet Mr. 
Hooker came into no trouble; but it was not long before the Kingdom 

Nothing is here said about this sermon being Mr. Hooker's 
farewell sermon; but the description applies exactly to the 
farewell sermon, and the prayer reflecting on the King is one 
that well matches in sentiment a certain passage in that ser- 
mon itself, making such a prayer a natural accompaniment. 
That this may have been the farewell sermon is merely a sur- 
mise, upon the ground indicated; but if the ground has any 
importance, it confirms the supposition that the sermon was 
preached as Hooker gave up his ministry at Chelmsford a little 
before leaving England for Holland, instead of when, three or 
four years later, he left England for New England. It would 
have been difficult for him to preach to any considerable con- 
gregation, or in any very public way, during the brief time that 
he was in England in 1633, returning there from Holland to 
prepare for his sailing for New England; for he was at that 
time under very strict surveillance. " Returning into England,'''' 
says Mather, "in order to a further Voyage, he was quickly 
scented by the Pursevants." Here Mather relates the incident 
of Hooker's secretion by Rev. Samuel Stone, who was to come 
with him to New England as an assistant, which incident it 
has been conjectured may have been connected with Mr. 
Stone's family home at Hertford. Mather adds, "Mr. Hooker 
concealed himself more carefully and securely, till he went on 
Board, at the Downs, in the year 1633, the Ship which brought 
him, and Mr. Cotton, and Mr. Stone, to New England; Where 
none but Mr. Stone was owned for a Preacher, at their first 
coming aboard ; the other two delaying to take their Turns in 
the Publick Worship of the Ship, till they were got so far into 
the Main Ocean, that they might with Safety, discover who 
they were." 

All this indicates a situation in England as concerns Hooker 
which makes any conspicuous preaching by him there at that 


time unlikely; although we have Prince's definite statement 
that the sermon was preached at that time and Mather's 
reference to it at a place in his account which implies the same. 
The special passage in Mather concerning the sermon is as 
follows : 

Amongst Mr. Fenner's Works, I find some imperfect and shat- 
tered, and I believe, Injurious Notes of a Farewel Sermon upon 
Jer. 14. 9, We are called by thy Name, leave us not: Which Farewel 
Sermon was indeed, Mr. Hooker's, at his leaving of England. There 
are in those Fragments of a Sermon, some very Pathetical and most 
Prophetical passages, where some are these: 

// is not Gold and Prosperity which makes God to be our God; there 
is more Gold in the West-Indies than there is in all Christendom; 
but it is God's Ordinances in the Vertue of them, that show the Presence 
of God. 

Again, Is not England ripe? Is she not weary of God? Nay, she 
is fed fat for the slaughter. 

Once more, England hath seen her best Days, and now evil Days 
are befalling us. 

And, Thou, England, which hast been lifted up to Heaven with 
Means, shall be abased and brought down to Hell; for if the mighty 
Works which have been done in thee, had been done in India or Turkey 
they would have repented ere this. 

These Passages I quote, that I may the more effectually describe 
the Apprehensions with which this worthy Man took his Farewel of 
his Native Country. 

But there is one strange Passage in that Sermon, that I know not 
what well to think of; and yet it is to be thought of. I remember, 
'tis a passage in the Life of the Reverend Old Blackerby, who died 
in the year 1648, * That he would often say it was very probable the 
English Nation would be sorely punished by the French; And that 
he believed Popery would come in, but it would not last, nor could 
it recover its former Strength.' 1 The notable Fulfilment which that 
Passage hath seen, would carry one to consider the unaccountable 
Words which Our Hooker uttered in his Farewel Sermon. 'Tis very 
likely that the Scribe has all along wronged the Sermon; but the 
Words now referred unto, are of this Purport, That it had been 
told him from God, That God will destroy England, and lay it wast; 
and that the People should be put unto the Sword, and the Temples 
burnt, and many Houses laid in Ashes. Long after this, when he 
lived in Hartford in New-England, his Friends that heard that Ser- 

1 Richard Blackerby (1574-1648), who printed nothing of his writings. 

1913J hooker's farewell sermon. 265 

mon, having the News of the Miseries upon England, by the civil 
Wars, brought unto them, enquired of him, Whether this were not 
the time of God's destroying England, whereof he had spoken? He 
replied, No; this is not the time; there will be a time of respite after 
these Wars, and a time wherein God will further try England; and 
England will further sin against him, and shew an Antipathy against 
the Government of the Lord Jesus Christ in his Church; his Royal 
Power in the Governing thereof will be denied and rejected. There will 
therefore a time come, when the Lord Jesus Christ will plead his own, 
and his own Cause, and the Cause of them who have suffered for their 
Fidelity to her Institutions; He will plead it in a more dreadful way, 
and break the Nation of England in pieces, like a Potters Vessel. 
Then a Man shall be precious as the Gold of Ophir; but a small Rem- 
nant shall be left; And afterward God will raise up Churches to himself, 
after his own Heart, in his own time and way. God knows, what there 
may be in this Prediction. 1 

Mather's reference to Mr. Fenner and his " imperfect, shat- 
tered, and injurious notes" has led me to look up the works of 
that once revered and popular but now forgotten Puritan di- 
vine. William Fenner was born in 1600 and died in 1640; and 
such was the hunger for his sermons and sundry theological 
treatises that, besides the apparently large circulation of some 
of them separately, in 1657, seventeen years after his death, 
a collected edition of them was published in London in a great 
folio of more than 1200 pages. A collected edition of some 
sort had also been published half a dozen years before. There 
is in the great 1657 volume which I have examined a "Treatise 
of the Affections," a " Treatise of Conscience," " Christ's Alarm 
to Drowsie Saints," a "Second Part of Christ's Alarm to Drow- 
sie Saints," etc.; and, what chiefly interests us here, there are 

1 Magnolia, Book III. 62. Increase Mather in his Ichabod, printed at Boston 
in 1702, using the Magnolia notes, a copy of which reached Boston only in Oc- 
tober of that year, wrote in his preface, dated November 14, 1701 : " I have often 
wondred at some very surprizing Passages which are in our Renowned Hookers 
Sermon, on Jer. 14. 9. which was the last that he Preached in England. . . . 
Thus speaks that Man of God. I find that this Sermon of his is by a mistake, 
Published amongst Mr. Fenners works, as if it had been Preached by him. Prob- 
ably, the Booksellers might find it in Mr. Fenners Study amongst his Manu- 
scripts, and so sent it abroad into the world under his Name. Reverend Mr. 
Higginson (the most Aged Minister now living in New-England) was well ac- 
quainted with Mr. Hooker, as having been Educated under him, and he assures 
me, That after Mr. Hooker had been many Years Pastor of Hartford, some of 
his intimate friends enquired of him, whether he did not apprehend," etc. 



"XXIX Choice Sermons on severall Texts of Scripture," the 
nineteenth of which has the following title-page — most of the 
works having separate title-pages: — "The Signes of Gods 
forsaking a People. Preached by that laborious and faithful 
Messenger of Christ, William Fenner, Sometimes Fellow of 
Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, and late Minister of Rochford 
in Essex. London, Printed by E. T. 1 for John Stafford." 
Rochford in Essex is only about twenty miles from Chelmsford 
in Essex, where Hooker preached. We find that Fenner was 
presented to the living of Rochford in 1629 and labored there 
until his death. He therefore came into Hooker's neighborhood 
at the very moment when Hooker was creating the greatest 
stir in Essex and lived there until the year before Hooker's 
farewell sermon was printed in London. 

This sermon on "The Signes of Gods forsaking a People," 
published as Fenner's, is almost a repetition of Hooker's 
Danger of Desertion, with the same text, the same course of 
thought, and for the most part the same words from beginning 
to end. The nature of the variations I shall speak of. The 
whole thing is apparently a gross piece of plagiarism; although 
the possibility remains, since this collection of Fenner's works 
was published long after his death, that the sermon, found 
among his remains, was mistakenly printed as his by his editors, 
he being in no way responsible. I am constrained to say that 
comparison of the two texts does not reinforce this view. At 
any rate, this is clearly the basis of Mather's remarks upon the 
"imperfect, shattered and injurious notes of a farewel sermon, 
which farewel sermon was indeed Mr. Hooker's." 

There is a copy of this 1657 edition of William Fenner's com- 
plete works in the Congregational Library, without the general 
title-page; and there is a complete copy in the Boston Public 
Library. This copy is of peculiar interest. It belonged to 
Increase Mather, and contains his autograph on the title-page 
and on the fly-leaf at the end, the first autograph being accom- 
panied by the date, 1660, which was three years after the pub- 
lication of the volume. The title of this volume is included 
in the catalogue of Increase Mather's library, preserved in 
the Public Library, and recently published by Mr. Tut tie in 
his painstaking paper upon the Mather Library, printed in the 

1 E. Tyler. 


Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society. It came 
later into the possession of Mather Byles, and it was presented 
to the Public Library by Richard C. Humphreys. Upon the 
special title-page of the sermon upon "The Signes of Gods 
forsaking a People" in this volume is the note, written by 
Cotton Mather, "This sermon said to be Mr. Hooker's. See 
Hooker's Life in Dr. Cotton Mather's Magnolia." 

I run the risk of wearying you with this detail concerning 
this volume, because I wish to add that it seems to me certain 
that it was the very copy which Cotton Mather had at hand 
when he was writing about Mr. Fenner's "injurious notes." 
There was no copy of Fenner among the books from Cotton 
Mather's own library purchased by Isaiah Thomas for the 
American Antiquarian Society, nor for that matter any of 
Hooker's works; although in the Increase Mather list there are 
several volumes of Hooker, but not the farewell sermon upon 
The Banger of Desertion. 

It is a duty to say, in view of Mather's impeachment and 
the fact that Hooker's sermon in substance, is included among 
Fenner's sermons as his own, with no credit whatever to Hooker, 
that Fenner's general credentials are the highest. The various 
sections of the great 1657 volume are preceded by manifold 
"Epistles to the Reader" by dignified religious teachers. One 
of them, declaring that to praise Fenner was like praising Her- 
cules, whom no man ever dispraised, and that should all men 
be silent stones would speak for him, is signed by six names, 
Simeon Ash, William Taylor, Matthew Poole, John Jackson, 
John Seabrooke, and Edmund Calamy; and Calamy writes 
various other introductions, paying tribute to Fenner as "a 
burning and shining light," praising his "unwearisome pains 
in preaching," his "learning" and his "exemplary piety." 
There are three separate prefatory epistles to the collection of 
"XXIX Choice Sermons" itself, one by Thomas Goodwin, 
one by Joseph Caryl and one again by Calamy, who in this 
place speaks of Fenner as "so deservedly famous in the Church 
of God, and so well knowne unto me in particular, and one to 
whom I was so much obliged, when he was living." One of the 
prefatory notes states that many of the sermons had already 
been published in several volumes, although some were never 
printed before. It may here be said that Fenner began publish- 


ing his sermons as early at least as 1626, one of that date ap- 
pearing in the 1657 volume, although not among the Twenty- 
nine Choice Sermons. There is an elaborate index or summary 
of the contents of the Twenty-nine Sermons, extending to 
thirty- two pages, the summary of "The Signes of Gods for- 
saking a People" falling into its regular place with the rest; 
and curiously there is before this collection "The Authors 
Preface upon these ensuing Sermons." No definite inference, 
however, as to how long before his death, which was seventeen 
years before the publication of this 1657 volume, Fenner wrote 
this preface, or how many of the "ensuing- sermons" it then 
covered, can safely be drawn. Its subject-matter relates simply 
to the first sermon in the collection, upon "Divine Meditation." 

We are here interested in William Fenner only in. so far as 
anything in his life and works throws light upon the inclusion 
among his published sermons of the sermon which, as Mather 
says, "was indeed Mr. Hooker's, at his leaving of England." 
Those caring to learn more of him may turn to the Lives of 
the Puritans by Benjamin Brook, who says that "he was much 
resorted to as a casuist and much admired by some of the 
nobility." Concerning Dudley Fenner, the Puritan divine of 
the preceding generation, who fills a larger place in the old 
records, Brook says of a certain work attributed to him that 
this work, though having Dudley Fenner's name prefixed, is 
by Dr. William Fulke. "The Signes of Gods forsaking a 
People," though having William Fenner's name prefixed, is 
indeed by Thomas Hooker. 

How slight the variations are in the two texts will sufficiently 
appear from two or three brief passages. Take the sermon's- 
opening words: 

Hooker — Two things are in- Fenner — Two things (Breth- 

tended and expressed by the ren and beloved in Christ Jesus) 

Holy-ghost, from the 1. verse, are intended and expressed by 

to the thirteenth. First, a de- the holy Prophet, from the first 

nuntiation of judgement, and verse to the 13. verse. There is 

that reacheth to the 17. verse, first a denomination of a judge- 

and that is sword and famine, ment, and that is dearth or fam- 

First, he would send the famine, ine from the first verse, to the 

and then the sword, and would seventh. Secondly, the sword 

not be intreated. Secondly, in is threatened to the thirteenth 




the 8. verse, we have the impor- 
tunate prayer of the Church, to 
turne away these judgements; 
and the prayer is marvellous 
sweet, partly in confession, where 
they confesse their sinnes, and 
seeke to God for succour against 
them: As if they should say, 
Loe we are as base as base can 
be, and therefore help for the 
Lords sake, and thus they make 
their supplication in the 7. and 8. 
verses, and this short prayer dis- 
covers it selfe, partly in the things 
prayed for, and partly in the 
manner, and the holy Prophet 
intending this is very sweet in it. 
First, they pray that God will 
not take away his presence from 
them, Why stayest thou but a 
night? As if he should say, it is 
marvellous strange, that thou 
behavest thy selfe as a stranger. 

verse; he will send the famine, 
then the sword, and he will not 
be intreated. Then in the eighth 
and ninth verses, we have the 
importunate prayer of the Church 
to turne away these judgements: 
And the praier is marvellous 
sweet, in confession, where they 
confesse their sinnes, and seek to 
God for succour. First, they de- 
sire God that he would not take 
his providence from them, why 
stayest thou but for a night? 
verse the 8. as if they should 
have said, it is marvellous strange 
that thou behavest thy self so 
like a stranger; 

The following illustrates the manner of introducing a special 
section by a question: 

Hooker — What if a man want 
preaching, may not he want it, 
and yet goe to Heaven? 

Fenner — May not a man be 
saved without preaching? 

The following additional passage will suffice: 

Hooker — Prancke not up your 
selves with foolish imaginations, 
as who dare come to England, 
the Spaniards have enough, the 
French are too weake: be not 
deceived, who thought Ierusa- 
lem the Lady of Kingdomes, 
whither the Tribes went to wor- 
ship, should become a heap of 
stones, a vagabond people, and 
why not England? 

Fenner — Pranck not then 
your selves with foolish imagi- 
nations, saying who dare come 
to hurt England? the Spaniard 
hath his hands full, and the 
French are too weak. But be- 
loved be not deluded; who 
would have thought that Jeru- 
salem the Lady City of all Na- 
tions, whither the tribes went up 
to worship, should become a 


heap of stones and a vagabond 
people? but yet you see it was, 
and is to this day; and I pray, 
why may it not be England's 

Even of The Danger of Desertion as published in 1641 
with Hooker's name, Dr. Walker's judgment is that it was 
" probably printed from imperfect notes." If this be true, 
they were not the same " imperfect and injurious notes" 
which Mather characterizes the publication in Fenner's works. 
The curious thing is that the passages which Mather quotes in 
a way which implies that he is quoting from the Fenner version 
conform much more closely, although not exactly, to the 1641 
text published with Hooker's name than to the other. The 
inference is that, as is indeed most likely of such a lover and 
student of Hooker as Mather was, he had the 1641 text also 
before him, perhaps viewing both as fragmentary reports, and 
quoted somewhat indiscriminately, while expressing his con- 
demnation of the Fenner publication. 

The dates in this study need to be kept clearly in mind. 
Fenner died in 1640, six years after Hooker left England for 
New England and one year before the publication in London 
of Hooker's farewell sermon as such, with Hooker's name. 
Hooker died at Hartford in 1647; an d the publication of the 
sermon with another title as Fenner's in the latter's collected 
works was in 1657, seventeen years after Fenner's death. 
Fenner himself would never have published Hooker's sermon 
as his own; and even if the publication had occurred a dozen 
years before it did, Hooker would have known of it. If it 
were plagiarism, it was plagiarism for preaching, not for 
printing. The wonder is that Fenner's editors, an eminent 
and learned set of Puritans, surely great readers of sermons 
and surely familiar with Hooker's works, should not have 
seen what Cotton Mather saw. How Fenner got his notes, 
or whether the manuscript from which he drew was the same 
used for the 1641 Hooker volume the year after Fenner's 
death, we are not likely to learn. 

That the 1641 volume was in any way disapproved or criti- 
cised by Hooker himself is most unlikely, even if he did not 
himself furnish the text for publication by his friends in Eng- 


land. He lived for six years after its publication, and copies 
of a work of such historical importance in connection with his 
life must have been common in his circle in Hartford. The 
statement by Mather that his friends in Hartford who heard 
the sermon talked with him about it certainly goes to confirm 
the supposition that it was preached at the close of his ministry 
in Chelmsford before his departure for Holland; for it was from 
that region that his friends in Hartford came, and we have no 
certain knowledge that he went back there in 1633, when indeed 
most of his " company" had already gone to New England. 

The " Epistle to the Reader" which prefaces The Danger of 
Desertion is for readers in England, giving certain simple in- 
formation unnecessary in New England concerning the author 
of the sermon, whose voice had then not been heard in England 
itself for more than ten years, paying tribute to his "solid 
judgement, acute wit, strong memory, honest heart, pious 
disposition, and utter detestation, as of prophanesse, so of 
superstition," which forced him and many of his brethren like 
him "to leave old England to enjoy the freedome of their tender 
consciences ... to enjoy a greater liberty to themselves than 
here they could"; although the writer pronounces them not 
"like many rigid Separatists" who account the Church of 
England "to be no Church, and her Ministers to be no 

The publication in England of other works by Hooker was 
in a form and manner which was afterwards subjected to sharp 
criticism by Hooker's friends. In 1657, the same year that the 
complete edition of Fenner appeared, ten years after Hooker's 
death at Hartford, there was published in London, with a 
prefatory epistle by Thomas Goodwin and Philip Nye, Hooker's 
"The Application of Redemption, The Ninth and Tenth 
Books." In their preface the editors say: 

There hath been published long since many parts and pieces of 
this author; upon this argument, sermon- wise preached by him here 
in England (which in the preaching of them did enlighten all those 
parts), yet having been taken by an unskilful hand, which upon 
his recess into those remote parts of the world was bold without his 
privity or consent to print and publish them (one of the greatest 
injuries which can be done to any man) it came to pass his genuine 
meaning, and this in points of so high a nature, and in some things 


differing from the common opinion, was diverted in those printed 
sermons from the fair and clear draught of his own notions and in- 
tentions, because so utterly deformed and misrepresented in multi- 
tudes of passages, and in the rest put imperfectly and crudely 

This particular work, we are told on the title-page, was 
" printed from the author's papers, written with his own hand, 
and attested to be such, in an Epistle." The prefatory ad- 
dress in The Equall Wayes of God, published in 1632, 1 is signed 
T. H., showing the authorization by Hooker. But The Soules 
Preparation for Christ, published the same year — this was while 
Hooker was in Holland 2 — was prepared for the press by 
others, by reason of the author's absence, as we are informed 
in a prefatory note. Whether The Danger of Desertion was 
printed from Hooker's own notes or another's we have no 
means of knowing. 

John Cotton's farewell sermon was a farewell to a company 
leaving England while he for a time remained behind. Thomas 
Hooker's farewell sermon was a farewell as he himself was 
leaving England. Their final farewells to England were alike 
silent and secret farewells, as both, sailing together in the same 
ship for Boston in 1633, anxiously concealed their departure 
from the public. The original plan had been to associate them 
here; but it was afterwards thought, as Mather says, that "a 
couple of such great men might be more serviceable asunder 
than together." Cotton stayed in Boston. Hooker went to 
Newtown, our Cambridge, where groups of settlers who for a 
year had been coming over from Chelmsford, Brain tree, and 
Colchester, and the regions round about, in Essex, and were 
commonly spoken of here as "Mr. Hooker's company," and 
first settling chiefly at Wollaston, had already erected a " house 
for public worship" and were awaiting their minister. 

The three old Essex towns named furnished half of "Mr. 
Hooker's company," the original settlers of Connecticut. In 
pilgrimages among the Hooker places, I have visited all of 
these, as also Little Baddow, close to Chelmsford, where Hooker 

1 Entered in Stationers Registers (Arber, iv. 233), December 6, 163 1, by John 

2 lb., 229, under date October 29, 1631, by Master Robert Dawlman. Arber 
erroneously prints the author as F. H. 

1913.] hooker's farewell sermon. 273 

retired when silenced by Laud and opened the school in which 
he secured the assistance of John Eliot, later our apostle to the 
Indians, coming from Jesus College in Cambridge. As student 
at Emmanuel College and as lecturer, Hooker himself had 
resided in Cambridge about fifteen years. The little old church 
at Esher in Surrey where he then served for half a dozen years, 
until he went to Chelmsford, still stands, unused, beside the 
newer church; and St. Mary's Church at Chelmsford, where he 
was lecturer for three or four years, up to the end of 1629, where 
undoubtedly he preached the sermon before the judges men- 
tioned by Mather, and quite probably the farewell sermon, 
whether or not this were identical with that, appears to-day 
essentially as in Hooker's time. 

It would seem that, with "Mr. Hooker's company" and 
Mr. Hooker thus reunited in Newtown, the conditions for 
contentment and permanence well existed. But in less than a 
year we find the company anxious to remove to Connecticut and 
Cotton preaching a sermon, on "a day of humiliation" over 
the anxiety, intended to pacify them — this service by Mr. 
Cotton "being desired by all the court, upon Mr. Hooker's 
instant excuse of his unfitness for that occasion." The re- 
sulting pacification was of brief duration; and in June, 1636, 
we find Hooker and his company tramping through the pri- 
meval Massachusetts forest to the Connecticut and crossing 
the swollen river upon rude rafts and boats to lay the founda- 
tions of Hartford. In the same month we find Roger Williams, 
banished from Massachusetts, paddling down the Seekonk 
River with his little group of friends to lay the foundations of 
Providence. At almost precisely the same moment we there- 
fore see the founding of the two democratic commonwealths 
by men who could not adapt themselves to the theocratic and 
aristocratic system of Massachusetts. By curious irony, the 
two leaders of the Connecticut exodus, Hooker and Haynes, 
were precisely the two men who had been the most prominent 
public actors in the proceedings resulting in Roger Williams's 
banishment. For it was Haynes, not Winthrop, who was then 
governor of the Massachusetts Colony; and it was Hooker who 
was chosen by the Court to argue the mooted points with Wil- 
liams in the final formal dispute. But the real force that 
impelled both Williams and Hooker to leave Massachusetts 



was undoubtedly John Cotton. As concerned himself, Williams 
— remaining to the end, like Hooker, the warm friend of Win- 
throp — never accepted Cotton's excuses; and it was with 
Cotton that he later carried on his chief controversy over tol- 
eration. As concerned Hooker, Hubbard doubtless closely hit 
the truth when he said, "Two such eminent stars, such as 
were Mr. Cotton and Mr. Hooker, both of the first magnitude, 
though of differing influence, could not well continue in one 
and the same orb." The main point was the differing influence. 
Hooker's democracy could not be made to harmonize with 
Cotton's aristocracy; and the founding of Connecticut was 
inevitable, and it was most beneficent. "Thomas Hooker, 
the First American Democrat" is the title given by Walter 
Logan to his glowing eulogy of Hooker. The "Fundamental 
Orders of Connecticut," the first written constitution in history, 
inspired by Hooker if not indeed written by his hand, was a 
strictly democratic constitution. "It marked the beginnings 
of American democracy, of which Thomas Hooker deserves 
more than any other man to be called the father," says John 
Fiske in his Beginnings of New England; and Johnston, the 
Connecticut historian, wrote: "It is on the banks of the Con- 
necticut, under the mighty preaching of Thomas Hooker, and 
in the Constitution to which he gave life, if not form, that we 
draw the first breath of that atmosphere which is now so fa- 
miliar to us." 

It is in the light of this memorable and pregnant subsequent 
history that it is so interesting to turn back to this old farewell 
sermon of Hooker's as he was leaving England, shaking the 
very dust from his feet and fiercely denouncing everything 
identified with a State represented by Charles and Wentworth 
and a Church represented by Laud. It was an utterance pro- 
phetic of the "Fundamental Orders" of Connecticut; and it 
was undoubtedly one of many similar utterances which war- 
ranted the contemporary judgment of him as "a person who, 
while doing his Master's work, would put a king in his pocket." 

Col. W. R. Livermore, in presenting to the Society a copy 
of his volumes on the Civil War, covering the operations of 1863, 
and in continuation of the history of John C. Ropes, described 
briefly the methods employed in gathering and using his 


The Editor read a letter of Daniel Webster from the collec- 
tion of Mr. Lord. It refers to an explanation by John Quincy 
Adams of the failure to pass a fortification bill in the last session 
of the Twenty-third Congress, and applies to a subject of which 
the Adams Memoirs contains no mention. 

Daniel Webster to Isaac L. Hedge. 

Washington, Jan. 26, 1836. 
Private and confidential. 

My Dr. Sir, — Mr. Adams, in his speech on the 2 2d, has, as 
you will have seen attacked the Senate with great violence, and ex- 
pended an uncommon portion of his gall on me. As his Speech will 
doubtless be circulated by him with great industry thro' his own 
District, I am desirous, naturally, that the People should see both 
sides of the question. Can you give me a list of persons, to whom it 
might be well to send copies of my Speech, and also copies of much 
better Speeches, on the same subject? If you can, I should be obliged 
to you, and the larger you make it the better. If you thought 
it would do good, I would also send some copies to you or your 
brother, to be handed to those who might wish to read them. 

We are in a good deal of excitement here. The Massachusetts 
Delegation are indignant, and before the matter is over, Mr. Adams 
will hear a good many truths told. 

Yrs. truly and sincerely, 

Dan'l Webster. 

The Editor also submitted three documents on the early 
years of the history of Massachusetts Bay plantation. 

Questions of the Elders. 

The following paper is found among the Belknap mss. in 
the Society's collections (161, A. 1). It may pertain to the 
discussion over some opinions expressed by John Cotton in 
1636, referred to by Winthrop, History, i. 253. 

New England Questions agreed vpon by all 

1637 the Elders of the Bay, and to 

[be] conferrd vpon at a meetinge. 

1. Whither Christ with all his benefits bee disproued in a Coue- 
nant of workes? 

2. Whither all the promises bee made to Christ himself e, and the 
conditions fulfilled in him personally? 


3. Whither there bee any conditionall promises, in the Couenant 
of grace, or onely absolute? 

4 Whither all the Corhandements in scripture bee Legall and 
none Euangelicall? 

5. Whither there bee vnion, betweene Christ and ye Soule before, 
and without Fayth? 

6: Whither Fayth in Justification bee meerely passive? 

7 : Whither wee are Justified before we beleeue in Christ? 

8: Whither Justification bee an acquittinge of a sinner, or the 
declaration to the soule that it is acquitted? 

9: Whither Habits of Grace doe not differ a sainte from an 

10: Whither Justifiinge Fayth, and sanctification, bee in Christ 
as in the subject, and not in the Soule? 

1 1 : Whither a beleeuer ought to stirre vp himself e to act holilye, 
before hee feele the spirit of God to act him? 

12: Whither Vnion with Christ, and Justification by him, must 
bee first fully seene, and assured to the soule, by the immediate 
witnesse of the spirit, before hee cann see the truth of his Fayth, 
or sanctification, soe as to euidence his Justification thereby? 

13: Whither our first assurance must bee from an absolute 
promise, not from a conditionall? 

14. Whither a beleeuer hath not right to a blessinge by a Con- 
ditionall promise of the Gospell: and may not pleade the same in 
a Couenant of Grace? 

15: Whither hee that hath sauinge Grace, may without sinn 
denye it? 

16: Whither hee that hath receiued the witnesse of the Spirit 
ought not to trye it by witnesse from Sanctification? 

The Negative Vote. 

In i860 Rev. Charles Lowell gave some historical manu- 
scripts to the Society. Among them were two of early date 
which are now printed for the first time. The origin and his- 
tory of the one are indicated in the memorandum noted upon 
it, but the handwriting has not been identified. It is without 
question the original paper that was given to the governor. 
The indorsement on the second paper, ''Negative Vote" 
would seem to connect the two papers, but this endorsement, 
though made in the seventeenth century, is misleading. The 
documents must be considered separately. 

The question of the "negative vote," or power of the magis- 


trates of Massachusetts Bay to veto a resolution of the deputies, 
was actively discussed in 1643 an d following years. Winthrop 
states that was one of the consequences of the remarkable 
lawsuit over the stray sow which Captain Keayne appropri- 
ated, after duly advertising the fact of his having it. 1 The many 
phases of this suit do not concern me, but the "sow business" 
was directly responsible for a small treatise on the negative 
vote by a magistrate, "wherein he laid down the original of it 
from the patent, and the establishing of it by order of the 
general court in 1634, showing thereby how it was fundamental 
to our government, which, if it were taken away, would be a 
mere democracy." 2 Before May, 1634, the government of the 
plantation rested with the governor and assistants (magis- 
trates); but in that year the principle of representation was 
applied, the freemen of the several settlements being empow- 
ered to choose two or three of their number to attend the Court, 
and "to have the full power and voices of all the said freemen 
derived to them for the making and establishing laws," etc. 
Winthrop, then governor of the colony, was consulted upon 
this measure, but laid down the rule that these representatives 
should not make any new laws, but prefer their grievances to 
the court of assistants (magistrates). He thus reserved to the 
magistrates the power to originate laws and to have the final 
word upon the propositions coming from the deputies. 3 Ten 
years later the position of the magistrates had not been changed. 
This treatise by a magistrate did not satisfy the deputies or 
the people, who wished to take the negative vote from the mag- 
istrates, and a reply to it was prepared, written as was sup- 
posed by one of the magistrates. The identity of this writer 
can only be conjectured, for even the year in which the reply 
was written is uncertain. But Israel Stoughton had been an 
assistant, and in 1643 was again chosen to serve. Eight years 
earlier, in March, 1634-35, he had incurred the displeasure 
of the General Court, and had been "disabled for beareing any 
public office in the commonwealth, within this jurisdiccon for 
the space of three yeares, for affirmeing the Assistants were noe 
magistrates." This assertion was made in a written treatise, 

1 Winthrop, History, 11. 69. The sow strayed in 1636 and the discussion of the 
negative vote came to a head in 1643. 

2 lb., 118. 3 Winthrop, 1. 129. 


which had given great offence to the Court, and an order was 
issued that it should be burnt, "'as being weake and offensive." x 
His doubts of 1635 were the same that agitated the people of 
the colony in 1643, and it is more than probable that he was 
the author of the statement made in the latter year in behalf 
of the deputies and freemen. Upon pressing their case they 
received for a reply from the magistrates that 

the matter was of great concernment, even to the very frame of 
our government; it had been established upon serious consultation 
and consent of all the elders; it had been continued without any 
inconvenience or apparent mischief those fourteen years, therefore 
it would not be safe nor of good report to alter on such a sudden, 
and without the advice of the elders: offering withal, that if upon 
such advice and consideration it should appear to be inconvenient, 
or not warranted by the patent and the said order, etc., they should 
be ready to join with them in taking it away. Upon these proposi- 
tions they were stilled, and so an order was drawn up to this effect, 
that it was desired that every member of the court would take ad- 
vice, etc., and that it should be no offence for any, either publicly 
or privately, to declare their opinion in the case, so it were modestly, 
etc., and that the elders should be desired to give their advice before 
the next meeting of this court. 2 It was the magistrates' only care 
to gain time, that so the people's heat might be abated, for then they 
knew they would hear reason, and that the advice of the elders might 
be interposed; and that there might be liberty to reply to the answer, 
which was very long and tedious, which accordingly was done soon 
after the court, and published to good satisfaction. 3 

This General Court, held in May, adjourned to meet in 
September. The "reply to the answer" is dated June 5, 1643. 4 
At the September session three conclusions were delivered 
by Mr. John Cotton, in the name of himself and other elders, 
about the negative vote. 5 Winthrop also describes another 
paper : 

One of the elders also wrote a small treatise, wherein scholastically 
and religiously he handled the question, laying down the several 
forms of our government, and the unavoidable change into a de- 
mocracy, if the negative voice were taken away; and answered all 

1 Mass. Col. Rec, 1. 135, 136. 

2 This order is printed in Mass. Col. Rec, 11. 40. 3 Winthrop, 11. 119. 

4 It will be found in Winthrop, Life and Letters of John Winthrop, 11. 427. 

5 Probably the paper printed in Mass. Col. Rec, H. 90. 


objections, and so concluded for the continuance of it, so as the 
deputies and the people also, having their heat moderated by time, 
and their judgments better informed by what they had learned 
about it, let the cause fall. 

I believe this " small treatise" to be the paper found among 
the Lowell manuscripts. The date is later than Winthrop's 
paper, and earlier than that of Cotton. The writing may be 
that of John Norton. 

Concerning the negatiue vote the state of the controuersy is 
Whether it be safer for this common wealth to commit the exe- 
cution of the supreame ciuill power therof to the Magistrates and 
Deputies (as the 2 integrall parts of the Court) to be executed by 
them according to a mixt forme of gouerment, so as no act judiciall 
either in making or executing Lawes can proceed without the posi- 
tiue uote of both parts. 

Or whether it be safer to commit the said power to plurality of 
uotes in the whole Court, and consequently to the greater part of 
the deputies, so that notwithstanding the whole magistracy dissent 
together with so many of the Deputies as conjoyned with them are 
lesse in number then the rest, yet judiciall acts to proceed by such 
plurality of votes though only of the Deputies. 

Briefly this 
Whether a mixed forme of gouerment viz: of Aristocracy and 
Democracy or a popular forme of gouerment as that consisting of 
the Deputies be fitter for this common wealth. 

For the resolution of the question consider the following Propo- 

1: w* is a popular or Democraticall forme of gover- 

2 : w* an Aristocracy is. 

3 : w* a forme mixt of Aristocracy and Democracy or 
popular state is. 

Quaeres J 4 : whether a mixt forme in generall is generally to be 
with theire | preferred before a popular, circumstances con- 

answers. 1 sidered. 

5: whether a forme mixt of an Aristocracy and De- 
mocracy or a popular and that such a one as the 
taking away of the negatiue voyce inferrs, is 
best for this common wealth. 

1 In the margin is written "forma regimen petenda est e conditione 




Satisfaction to some objections. 

i : A multitude of freemen considered as an homogeneous body 
united by a Ciuill bond, to Hue under the same gouerment make a 
Common wealth. 

2: This common wealth (as such) is the first subject of Ciuill 
policy and power. 

3 : The regular execution of this power by man so as not man but 
reason or rather God (though by men) rules. 

Is the breath of the [2] nostrills of Israel and ordinary meanes 
wherby the common wealth leades a quiet and godly life in all 
godlines and honesty. 

4. This power cannot be executed immediately by the common 
wealth, but by some one, or more selected persons orderly chosen 
theunto, and vested therwith (w ch others call otherwise; we call 
magistrates, and Deputies.) 

Quaere 1 : what a popular or democraticall forme of gouerment is? 
2: what an Aristocracy is? 
3 : what a forme mixt of Aristocracy and Democracy is? 

Resp: In answer herunto we are to know there are 7 formes of 
good gouerment 3 simple and foure mixt. 
: Monarchy: 


2: Aristocracy: where majesty or su- 
preame ciuill power is committed 
by ye people to 

3: Democracy or popular: 


the nobles or su- 
perior sort of the 
people as Gen- 
try or the and 

any sort of the 


of all three 

of a monarchy and Aristocracy 

of a monarchy and Democracy 

of an Aristocracy and Democracy 

the present forme of gouerment with us, except wee shall 
say, and it may bee more properly that our magistracy is but a 
Democraticall though Aristocratically administred. 
Hence the reader may see 
1: A Democracy or popular state is where the supreme ciuil 
power is by the people committed or betrusted for the execution 
thereof according to fundamentall Lawes, with such a number of 
the people though of any inferiour condition among them. [3] 

2: Aristocracy is where the supreame ciuill power is committed 
and betrusted with such a number of the cheifer sort of them, as 
the nobility; or in the absence of such the gentry or the like. 

1913.] THE NEGATIVE VOTE. ' 28 1 

3: A forme mixt of an Aristocracy and Democracy is when the 
former power in the former manner, is not committed to the chiefe 
of the people only, nor to any part of any inferiour condition of the 
people, but to such a number of both sorts; so as no act of supreame 
power, can proceed without the suffrages of the greater number of 
both parts. 

Doubt: In case there be some persons of chief er sort joyned 
with those of inferiour sort doth not this make a mixt forme of 

Sol: No: tis not the being of some such persons amongst the 
other, but ye vesting of that sort of persons with such power whence 
as they cannot without the other: so neither can the other without 
these proceed to any act of supreame ciuih power. 

A negatiue uote in either parts is inseparable from a mixed forme 
of Gouerment. 

4: Quaere: whether a mixt forme in generall, is generally to be 
preferred before a popular, Circumstances considered? 

Resp: Affirmatiuely which may thus appeare from scripture, 
Reason, and Experience. 1 

Scrip: The example of the gouerment of the people of God which 
was mixt viz: of Monarchicall and Aristocraticall — the Aristocracy 
instituted Numbers n: and continued till Herods time. 

Res : 1 : From the agreement of the forme with the matter, This 
forme of Gouerment best agreeth with the matter of gouerment, 
viz the people whose condicon is mixed, some being of superiour 
quality as the Gentry some of inferiour as the commonalty, a simple 
forme of Aristocracy occasions the inferiour sort of the people to 
be discontented, a simple forme of Democracy occasioneth the su- 
periour sort to be discontented, a mixt sort suites both, contents 
both, it is a maxime in policy, when the forme and matter of gouer- 
ment agree you may affirme that state to be safe. 2 [4] 

2 : A mixed forme is not subject to erre in judgment because in it 
both the parts containing a sufficient number of councellors, and 
consulting apart put out more strength of reason in their seuerall; 
then if there were but one joynt consultation. 

3 : There is not so much danger in erring all sorts of people being 
present in both the representatiue parts and consequently inclinable 
to make the best not the worst of errour. 

Exper: No popular state hath liued so well or liued so long as a 
mixed forme of gouerment history being witnes. 

1 " Principia cognoscendi regulatiua in politicis sunt tria, ratio, experientia, 
scriptura sacra." In margin. 

2 Quotiescunque imperii forma conditionis populorum quasi materiae con- 
gruenter respondet die imperium seruatur incolumae. 



Quaere 5 : Whether a forme mixed of an Aristocracy and Democ- 
racy or a popular sc: such a one as the taking away negatiue voyce 
inferrs is best for this common wealth? 

Ans: A forme mixt of an Aristocracy and Democracy is best &c. 

1 : The Reason of the foregoing reasons obtaineth with us. 

2: The bringing in of a Democracy here were to change the forme 
of our gouerment, the which to doe and that forme not so good 
without sufficient cause and against the judgments of many if not 
most of them that are in these causes judicious were not safe. 

3: Because our fundamentall lawes and annual elections doe or 
may sufficiently prouide against considerable inconueniences of the 
Aristocraticall part. 

4: Such a popular gouerment with us, in effect puts out one of the 
eyes (if not the right eye) of the common wealth, exposing it unto 
the losse of the reason of its whole magistracy (the most fit men for 
that seruice as chosen by, and out of the whole country) in the 
supreame acts of judicature. 

5 : It consequently depriueth this common wealth of a fundamen- 
tall liberty and may bring upon them anunknowne injury in subject- 
ing the people to the power and judgement of those whom particular 
townes, not the comon wealth doth immediately and collectiuely 

6 : It may this way come to passe that the supreame power of the 
common wealth may be disposed of against the mind of the common 
wealth, yea by them, not one of whom the comonwealth sc: the 
major part of the freemen (had it beene in their power) would haue 
chose: as in case the greatest number of little townes (in which 
usually are not the best choyce of men) where are a lesse number of 
freemen, consent against a number of greater townes, wherin are a 
greater number of freemen. [5] 

7: Wheras a mixed forme tends unto complyance and prouides 
against the danger of conte[mpt] of inferiours by superiours, and the 
enuy of inferiours against superiours, whilst either part seeing neither 
greater they can goe together but can not goe asunder, this popular 
state as with us, ministers an opportunity to inferiours to satisfy the 
spirit that in us lusteth to enuy superiours, whilst the inferiour 
part of people haue such supreame aduantage in their hands, and 
that according to law ouer superiours the commons ouer the bet- 
ter sort, the little townes ouer the greater, the Deputyes ouer the 
Magistrates : 

Obj: 1: A negatiue uote may hinder the present proceeding of 
judiciall acts, and cause long delay. 

An: 1: The best humane administration is uncap[ab]le of per- 


2 : So many a Democracy in case the uotes be equall in number. 

3 : It may doe good by hindring the processe of plurality in votes 
in case they be about to proceed erroneously. 

4: Admit the major part in the way of plurality exceedes but by 
one or two votes is not further consideration ordinarily better than 
a present proceeding? plurality is fallible. 

5: In such neere cases the judgement of but such a number in 
way of a mixt forme, is safer then the judgement of such a number 
in way of plurality of uotes, for the reason mentioned. Reason 2 : 
quaer: 4. 

6 : In case of error the hurt is negatiue, it can delay a good it can 
doe no positiue euill. 2: The hurt of delay is curable within the 
yeare when at the election the offending and incurable magistrates 
may be remoued. No proportion betweene the hurt that may be 
done by plurality of voyces and the hurt which may be done by a 
negatiue voyce The euill of that is positiue of this only negatiue, 
the euill of that many times incurable, of this curable. The nocent 
whom a negatiue voyce keeps from just punishment one court, may 
be punished the next, but the limmes, life, etc of the innocent 
which plurality of uotes takes away, can neuer by men be restored. 

Ob : 2 : Magistrates though there be cause are difficultly left out. 

Ans 1 : A magistrate is not before the country to be counted an 
offender, except the greater part of the freemen so judge. 

2 : In case the greater part of the freemen see sufficient cause to 
leaue him out, tis but uoting according to their judgment and the 
thing is done. 

3 : It may be difficult also to leaue out a deputy and in some case 
more difficult then to leaue out a magistrate; the major part of the 
towne being able to choose a deputy, against the minds of all the 
rest of the country. 

Ob j : 3 : The number of the deputies exceeding the number of the 
magistrates, therefore no reason why votes of unequall numbers 
should be equall. 

R 1: Not the number but the reason of them which are num- 
bred is to be weighed. [6] 

2: Tis not an Arithmetical! equality but a Geometricall that is 
to be attended to ; that is, not equality of number, but of vertue. 

3 : There is more disproportion betweene the wisedome and num- 
ber and object of Electors sc: the major part of the country that 
choose the magistrate and the major part of the towne that choose 
the Deputy, then there is betweene the number of the elected sc. 
Magistrates and Deputies. 

4: Though among the Deputies there may be found those which 
doe excell compared with some of the magistrates yet generally the 


one being experienced the other lesse experienced wee may judge 

5: If yet there remaine ought herin to be satisfyed it may be 
tempered by increasing the number of the one or diminishing the 
number of the other, or by qualifying the major part of the magis- 
tracy according to the proportion of two thirds as 6 the major part 
of 9, 7 or 8 of eleuen and as in some weighty motions of the venitian 
state policy tempers one part to the other, but doth not causelessly 
destroy either. 1 

Object: Appeales may by meanes of a negatiue vote be frustrated 
in that the judges in the inferiour court haue the negatiue voyce in 
the superiour court. 

Resp: 1: Omitting what may be said in regard of our Magis- 
trates and yearly election this objection holds not against a nega- 
tiue vote, but against such a constitution of judges in some inferiour 
court that is, not against a mixed forme, but against some errour in 
the temperature of the Aristocraticall part, the forme therefore 
here, is not to be touched, but the errour to be cured, by the concord- 
ing the constitution of such inferiour courts, with the free processe 
of appeales. 

2 : Appeales may upon like reason be made frustrate in a popu- 
lar state. 

3 : Appeales haue as free a course in a mixt as in a popular state 
the temper being accordingly. 

Ob : Tis possible that a negatiue uote may in some cases occasion 
the ruine of the common wealth in case of present danger by inva- 
sion of an enemy. 

1 : Tis not probable where the magistrates are annually electiue. 

2 : Tis possible though not probable that a bare plurality of votes 
on the Deputies part all the magistrates and the rest of the Depu- 
ties too dissenting may doe the like. 

3: In case either magistrates or deputies or both be not only 
doubted but should be found guilty of such a uote, scripture, nature 
and reason teach the people not [7] to suffer their hand to be tyed by 
[such] a uote but to arme themselues in their owne defence. 

If the judgment of the protestant [ ]e, and more judicious 
writers, be in this case enquired after. 

Though in wisedome they haue much declined the odious and per- 
illous comparing of the frames of common wealths yet the wary 
reader uppon search may find the judgement of divers of them to 
haue beene 

1: That no simple forme is safer than an Aristocracy, none so 
unsafe as a Democracy, a meere monarchy excepted. 

1 " What if the major number be neuer lesse than 7: " In margin. 


2 : That a mixed forme of gouerment is more safe than a simple. 1 

3: Amongst mixt formes that which is tempered of an Aristoc- 
racy, and a popular state, to excell. 

They are the words of Caluin: famous both for diuinity, and law: 

I will not deny that a state tempered of the chiefest men and 
comon gouerment farre excelleth all other. 

It be hopeth then this comonwealth which God in speciall mercy 
hath blessed (may be aboue many of our thoughts) with so safe a 
gouerment, duely to consider his prouidence therin, and to be 
[sufficiently and throughly admixed (?), before it change that forme 
of gouerment, which (if it be not most safe) yeelds to none amongst 
the seauen in point of safety, for that forme of gouerment which 
amongst the seauen (one excepted) is most unsafe. 
Who please may consider further 

1: Such is the state of all the humane gouerments respectiuely 
that something may be said against that which is most safe and much 
for that which is most unsafe. 

2: The power of the negatiue uote is unseparable from a mixt 
forme so that they which desiring a mixt forme yet endevour to 
remoue a negatiue uote seeme not to obserue their labouring for an 
impossibility, and against themselues. 

3 : The objections though generally profitable yet are also gener- 
ally besides the question as not proceeding against a negatiue uote 
but against some errour in the temperature of the Aristocraticall 
part in respect of the constitution of some [co]urts, or the member 
of the major part of the magistrates &c. [8] 

4: That in case our [illegible] not to be in the negatiue uote (or 
mixt forme of gouerment which in point comes all to one) but in 
the temperature of either part, according to the strength of [the] 
best objections whether it will not be expedient that the [illegible] 
of those objections appeare also in our answering the [illegible] an 
unwary falling upon the negatiue voyce through a mist[ake] that 
in reforming greeuances in conforming [to] our politicall construc- 
tion; to the temper of a mixed forme of gouerment. 

Endorsed: This treatise was deliuered to the GouT from Mr. 
Norton one of the Elders of the Ch: of I[pswic]h. (4) [June] 22-43.2 

The Massachusetts Patent. 

The second of the manuscripts offers greater difficulties. 
The endorsement is clearly wrong, for it has no connection with 

1 Calvin's institutions 1: Lib. 4 cap: 20 sect: 8. In margin. 

2 The subsequent history of this question may be gathered from Winthrop, 
11. 263; Mass. Col. Rec, 11. 90, 111. 11; and Life and Letters of John Winthrop, 
n. 440. 


the question of a negative vote. It is a discussion of the rela- 
tions of the colony to the king, and may have been prepared 
about 1664, on the appointment by the king of Commis- 
sioners to visit New England and determine differences 
among the various colonies. The date is certainly later 
than 1662, as the reference to Owen's Animadversions proves. 
The question of authorship cannot be answered, nor is it 
possible to give the name of the person to whom it is writ- 
ten. It has every mark of being a contemporary document. 

Sr., — the Intelligence you are pleased to favor me with by your 
last requires a larger measure of thankfullness then that which you 
request by way of return: were I but in a Capacitie to grattifye 
therin the matter of Controversy wherin you seeme soe desirous to 
vnderstand my oppinion is in itselfe of noe low Concernm't, and the 
Eminency of the disputants were enough to discourage a much abler 
person then my selfe from vndertaking to be a moderator in a 
question of that Nature, yet that I may not altogether fail your 
Expectation I shall in breiffe giue you an account of what I heard 
discourst vpon that subject, after I have praemised a few words in 
order to the question in hand. It hath been fatall to tymes of refor- 
mation, scandalous to Reformers, and a wofull snare wherin pious 
and well minded Persons have been miserably intangled as former and 
later experience hath too sadly testified: viz. An oppinion or asser- 
tion of externall power and dominion as a necessary requisite for the 
securitie of persons that proffess the true religion. For there be 
many decieved by the illusive sophisms of satan and have been put 
upon dangerous and unwarrantable Attempts for defence of the 
religion they proffess, not trusting vnto the wisdome and power of 
Almighty God as sufficient to Carry on the intrest of his own Cause 
and glorie in the world without the additional help of man's polecie. 
As the kingdome of Christ is not of this world soe rayther is there 
need of irregular striving after worldly power to vpholdand maintaine 
the same, outward prosperitie indeed was promised vnder the law 
where all things were typicall, but vnder the gospell where all things 
are vnveiled the kingdome of God and the things belonging therevnto 
are to be looked vpon with a more spirituall eye by which may be 
discerned the promise and reward of Eternall life due to the saints 
in another world: But as to this we find more mention of tribulation 
that shall attend the godly then of Power and Dominion. And the 
praedictions of the gospell speake more of the faith and Patience of 
the saints then of their externall Conquest and glorie; this expec- 
tation of a secular kingdome had too much influence vpon the Ap- 



postles in there first beginning before they had received more plen- 
tiful! illumination from the pouring out of the holy ghost: they 
thought Christ would in a way of externall glorie restore his kingdom 
to Israeli; It is to be feared too many persons in this age are too 
much taken with the same kind of inordinate desire after Civile 
power and dominion. If men could ride to heaven in the Tryum- 
phant Chariot of outward prosperitie one should think that more 
would travell that way then yet are observed to doe. But as the 
Path troden by our Savior and his Apostles and the whole church of 
God in sucseeding Ages hath been rather with Thornes of Roses soe 
it cannot be expected that it should be new made for those that 
sucseed in aftertymes. The Lord Jesus into whose hand the father 
hath committed all Power both in heaven and in Earth is not to 
seek of waies and means to provide for his servants and advance 
the glorie of his owne name. If Crownes and scepters in the hands 
of his saints had tended most to that end doubtless they had been 
their portion even in this life; But the doctrine of the Gospell as 
well as the experience of Christians evidence the Contrary. 

But to return to what I promised and principally intended. The 
King himself e if your intelligence mistake not, hath reduced the ques- 
tion into a Narrow Pinch: viz. Whether the Pattent doth denie 
his sovereignty here? Or as you relate it, Whether he hath noe Juris- 
diction over the inhabitants of the Massachusetts and soe his late 
Commission seems a violation of their Charter which he whose honor 
is the strongest obligation to performance professeth he would not 
in the least infringe; In refference to the question I have heard it 
strongly Argued both on the affirmative and Negative and the summ 
of what I have heard discoursed that way I shall as sucsinckly as I 
am able relate vnto you for your better satisfaction, and then leave 
you according to the exactness of your owne Judgment to draw the 

One the Affirmative its pleaded that those of the Massachusets 
are as much the naturall subjects of the King of England as those that 
are borne in any other of his dominions and territories, and that he 
hath as Absolute Jurisdiction over them as to sovereigntye as over 
any of his subjects notwithstanding the priviliges of the Pattent. 
For Priviliges although they dignifye and advance yet they make not 
a new kind of subject. The Reasons vsually Alleadged are first be- 
cause after Sebastian Cabott at the King of Englands Charge had 
first discovered the part of America wherin New England is situate, 
the King of England as in the Pattent is expressed did actually take 
this part of America soe called into his actuall possession, the doing 
of which is supposed to give him as treu and firm a title to the Coun- 
trey as he hath to any other his Territories according to the Judg- 


ment both of divines and Civilians with whom Iusta Occupatio is 
reckoned amongst the grounds of the right of title and dominion to 
goods and lands that before were in the possession of noe other: 
The Barbarous People that inhabited those deserts in as much as 
they had neither fixed habitations any where nor Improved any 
part therofT for Pastorage and ordinary tillage it cannot in reason be 
saied that any injury is offered them when the Countrey lying wast 
before was seized by the Prince of any Civile nation; not here to 
mention lyberty granted by the salvages to them that first occupied 
the land under the shelter of the King of Englands Authority, they 
are made by some precepta juris natturallis honeste vivere suum 
cuique tribuere alterum non Laedere. None of these Precepts 
being violated by the first seisers there appears nothing that can Im- 
peach the right and title of them that first made it: The deserts of 
Arabia of old being destitute of settled inhabitants for that the 
borderers made occasionall vse of part off it as they were capable is 
vnquestionable for wee read that Jethroes flock were formerly kept 
vpon the Edge of Mount Sinai: were free for Israeli not only to 
Journey through but after a sort to inhabitt for the space of fourty 
yeares and why not for ever? Neither of which could lawfully be 
attempted vpon the bordering land of the said deserts possessed by 
the Moabites: the like may be said concerning those deserts of 
America and is constantly practised by all other nations of Europe 
as well as by the subjects of the King of England. 

2. Secondly Because the Pattentees of the Massachusetts tooke 
a graunt of that Collonie so and soe Bounded by Charter from the 
King of England, which is a sufficient Argument that the King of 
England in their owne account had a right of Jurisdiction over 
them from the first. 

3. Thirdly it is noe less manifest that the King of England did 
never divest himselfe of the right of Jurisdiction which he both really 
had and was by themselves owned to have over the said Collonie 
which I have heard by these Reasons demonstrated. 

1. First its maintained by all the Lawyers off France that Prov- 
inces once incorporated into the Crowne can never be allienated by 
the sovereigne Power of any succeeding Prince without the Consent 
of all the Estates: Why the like may not be affirmed of the King of 
England who is by right and title the King of France also, noe reason 
can be rendred, and iff that stand good its not to be supposed that 
the King of England hath done what he could not doe, non possu- 
mus quod non jure possumus. Its said by Bodin a wise states man 
and great Lawyer that the markes and recognisance of sovereignty 
cannot be communicated with subjects nor agree to any but a sov- 
ereigne Prince. According to this rule the sovereignety of the Mas- 


sachusetts soe long as it continues any part of the King's dominions 
cannot be communicated to any of his subjects, its the common 
oppinion of Lawyers saith the same Bodin, 1. 1. c. 10. that Royall 
rights cannot be yielded vp detracted nor any otherwaies alienated, 
or by any tract of tyme proscribed against; amongst those Royall 
Rights that of soverainity and Jurisdiction and giving law to the 
subjects is Justly to be accounted the principall and most Essentiall 
to the Crowne it is a right soe inseperable that another doubteth 
not to affirme that iff a King and his subjects should be driven out 
of his kingdome he still continueth King over them they are still 
bound to him by their bonds of Alegiance wheresoever they be, 1 
and iff vpon such an exigent of Captivity the Jurisdiction of a prince 
over his subjects continueth and that they owe him subjection and 
obedience much more will it be treu vpon a voluntarie transmigra- 
tion to plant Another part of the Princes Dominions with consent 
and liberty thereto abide vnder his protection and Alleageance, yea 
the right of soveraignity is in some places esteemed soe inseperable 
from the Crowne that Although the Provinces be exchanged with 
Another prince or otherwise given away vpon treaty yet the right 
Jurisdiction will remain, as in the Province of Burgundi the County 
of Choraloies belongeth to the King of Spain as to the propriety 
thereof!, wheras the soverignty therofT belongs to the f rench King ; 
but let it be granted that the naturall subjects of the King of 
England may be exempted from the personall obligations wherwith 
they are bound vnto him yet iff he never have consented to any such 
Exemption the said obligation remaines as firme as ever which is 
therfore in the next place to be considered off. 

2ly. Its Absolutely denied that ever the King of England hath 
granted away his Jurisdiction over the Massachusetts that he hath 
not is manifest (they say) by sundry express passages and clauses in 
the Pattent which makes them conclude that the King's right of 
Jurisdiction continues as firme and Inviolable after the granting of 
the Pattent as ever it did before: first by the way praescribed in 
the pattent for the Issuing of aell differnces between the King and bis 
subjects and between the planters of the Massachusetts and the 
subjects or people of any prince or state In the former Case its 
provided that every clause in the Pattent shall be taken to all in- 
tents and Constructions of law in favor of the planters but not 
contrary to sence and reason, whence necisarily gathered that 
there is some Law by which all such jmergent Controversyes are 
to be decided and by what law can the Concernments of the King of 
England and his subjects be Judged and decided but by the law of 
England and before whom but such as he that is the fountain of 
. * Sir W: Raleigh Priv. of Par., p. 41. [In margin of the MS.] 



Justice shall Authorize for that End furnishing them with plenary 
Authoritie for that Purpose; If it be thought less conveniant that 
he should in his owne Person Judge and determine thereof! : in Case 
of the latter it is provided that vpon Complaints of wrong done to 
the subjects of another Prince, etc. iff vpon Proclamation made etc 
satisfaction be not given that the King shall putt them out of Pro- 
tection, It would be counted hard and vnjust iff the King should 
causa non data put them out of his Protection, it of necessity will 
follow therefore that vpon notice given the King may both Judge of 
the Cause and satisfaction to be made, qui vult finetn vult et media. 
It seemes very manifest from hence that the way and meanes how 
such Cases may come to a hearing is left to the pleasure of the King 
either by sending of delligates to Judge and determine vpon the 
place or by the personall appearance of some in behalfe of the 
supposed offendors. 

2ly by the Restriction added to the Power of making Lawes 
granted in the Pattent viz: not repugnant to the lawes of Eng- 
land of which who a competent Judge but the Granter or his heires 
and sucsessors or such as are Impowred by them, its vsually said 
that the Interpretation of Lawes belongs vltimately to them that 
made them such a clause in the pattent hath the nature of a law 
imposed vpon the Pattentees therefore in Reason belongs to him 
that first granted the said Pattent or his sucsessors to Judge whether 
it be broken or not. 

3ly in that there is a liberty granted to the Pattentees to trans- 
port themselves with any other that are willing to live with them 
vnder the King's Protection and Alleageance which words containe 
the reciprocall Bonds of the King and his subjects Alleagiance im- 
porting all and only that duty and obedience that the subject oweth 
to his Prince and soveraigne, fealty and homage may be due to the 
lord of the mannor Alegeance only to the King the meaning 
cannot be better expressed then the master of Chancery hath 
expressed in the oath Administred to the first Governor Mathew 
Cradock Juratus de fide et obedientia domino regi. how Any people 
should owe Allegeance i. e. fidelity and obedience to one that hath 
not the right of Empire of them passeth the reach of ordinary 
mens vnderstandings, And whether the Patentees in making vse 
of the liberty granted to come hither upon that express Condition or 
not vnder the same obligation with other subjects in point of 
duty and obedience to their soveraigne let the Pattent be judge 
and the world too iff noe less Arbiter will serve to decide this 

4ly the Kings right of Jurisdiction seemes in express termes to 
be reserved in the Pattent when the Pattentees are in Corporated 


and made a body politique by the name of the Governor and 
Comp[any] of the Massachusetts the names of every which society 
is to be dependent vpon another as superior and not to be a Common- 
wealth or free state in it selfe and made capable to sue or be sued 
in any of his Majestys Courts doubtless all such are vnder his Maj- 
estys Jurisdiction while they inhabite any part of his dominions 
and over all such his right of Empiere must be acknowleged what 
can be more equall then that the law of duty and of obedience should 
be as farr extended on the one hand as the law of favor and privi- 
lege one the other, its a privilege to sue in any of his Majestys 
Courts why should it not be a duty to be lyable to be sued as 
other subjects are: 

5ly by Pattent all such as are born here are capable of the greater 
priviledges in England as to inhaerite lands etc to which noe stranger 
but English subjects can be admitted unless naturalized And had 
not the King intended vs to continue his subjects here, notwith- 
standing the Pattent, what should move him to graunt it, what is 
more vsuall or Rationall then for princes to look at all such as hold 
lands or honors in their dominions as subjects and accordingly to 
exercise Authoritie over them: Matthew Earle of Linnoch 1 a scott 
by birth living some tyme in England and having Lands there re- 
turned into Scottland vpon the Invitation of the Queen of Scotts 
intending a marriage with his son, which Queen Elizabeth vnder- 
standing by the Advice of her Counsell called him back upon his 
Alleageance, when the late Duke of Hamilton 2 vpon the Tryall for 
his life pleaded that he was a scot the Judges Answered he was 
Earl of Cambridge and vpon that account proceeded against him as 
an English subject by reason of his honors and lands some of them 
lying there. When Edward the first was summoned to doe homage 
in person to the King of France for the dutchy of Normandy held 
of that Crowne he yeilded therevnto then also when one Guasco 
de Beirne a Gascoigne subject of the same Edwards had Appealed 
from his sentence to the Judgment of the King of France he ad- 
mitted of the appeale for the which act the King of England was 
blaimed by some yet turned it greatly vnto his honor the Appealer 
being Condemned by the Parliament of Paris and sent home to the 
King of England to prostrate himselfe at his Majestys feet with a 
halter about his neck for Justice or mercy for greate is the duty 
of subjection which belongs to soveraigne princes from all such as 
hold any lands of them Although otherwise they are soveraigne 
Princes themselves in their owne Kingdomes how much less can 

1 Matthew Stewart (1516-1571), Earl of Lennox, and father of Lord Darnley 

2 James Hamilton (1589-1625), second Marquis of Hamilton. 


they who are soe farr inferior denie the subjection which as naturall 
subjects they owe to their lawfull soveraigne. 

61y to all which may be added, that the absolute Power suposed 
to be given in this Pattent is expressed in noe higher termes then 
that which is granted to all Commanders to be Imployed in the 
transportation of the planters which certainly the Governor and 
Comp[any] did never take to be soe absolute as not to be accountable 
in case of any irregularitie in the execution. 

I have done with the Afirmative and shall in the next place touch 
as Breiffly on the negative with what is vsually reply ed to the ob- 
jections on that hand. 

i It is first Alleaged that it was the intent of the Pattentees to 
transplant them selves at their owne charge that they might enjoy 
the free Exercise of their religion which cannot be secured to them 
and their successors vnless suported by the Civill Authority and 
that in a way of Absolute Power without allowance of Appealer 
otherwise they say all the power granted them would stand them in 
little stead to such an end if they should be lyable to submitt their 
Judgments and sentences to the Alteration of others to whom Athor- 
atie might be derived from a soveraigne Power or Jurisdiction to 
overrule all their Juditiall Proceedings to disannull the best laws 
that might be enacted for the benefite of the inhabitants either 
Eclesiasticall or Civill and to revoake the most Just sentences that 
had been passed by their rulers. To this it is Answered that there 
is some Collour of Reason in the Alligation yet but a Collour for 
iff intents might be vrged vpon the part of the Pattentees will it 
not be as strongly argued on the part of the Grantors that none of 
them had any intent to part with their soveraignty or right of 
Empire and soe to confer the same vpon other persons vnknown 
to themselves and what should move them soe to doe is hardly 
Imaginable Princes though Profuse yet vsually Propound to them- 
selves some end of their Bounty The Examples are very rare wherin 
any Prince vpon noe stronger inducement hath been willing to divest 
himselfe of soe much of his soverainty. It is well knowne what his 
Majesty now Reigning doth claime, nor is it likely he should soe 
easyly forgett what we ourselves have acknowledged in our Addresses 
to him of dread soveraigne, Loyall subjects etc it would seem very 
absurd and Irrationall for any one to challenge such a legacy in a 
testament because it is either there or at least was intended to be 
there is there not as little reason to challenge a Privilege not ex- 
pressed in a charter because the granters intended such a favor 
should be Allowed them therin: But as to the other Branch of the 
objection it must be replyed that noe indirect Course must be taken 
to secure either sacred or civill Priviledges and liberties, seing that 


its never lawfull to doe evill that good may come thereof!, and iff 
those that were in the place of supreame Athoritie should manifest 
them selves less favourable to the growth and Progress of true re- 
ligion the matter is to be left to god we have discharged our duty 
after we have improved all just and lawfull endeavors for soe good 
an end, for we have noe warrant to denie the Jurisdiction and Athor- 
itie of them whom Providence hath invested therewith vpon a sup- 
position that wee could better manage it or disperse it in to hands 
where it might be better improved to the advantage of Religion or 
the good of the subjects, it will never be owned to be a regular way 
of giving vnto god the things that are gods by taking away from 
Cesar the things that are Cesars, for soe by a Jesuiticall distinction 
of (in ordine ad) the force of all Civill Athoritie might come to be 
eluded the sad Trajedges acted in the vpper and lower Germanie 
by the instigation of Thos : Munzerus, John of leyden and knipper- 
dolling may sufficiently caution sucseeding Ages not to Appose the 
Civill Athoritie vpon any such like Pretences. 

2ly its objected by some that the People of the Massachusetts 
ought to be exempted from any Jurisdiction besides their own be- 
cause they are at soe great a distance and that there can be noe 
lawfull summons to call them to Answer in England because the 
common law is included within the four seas and therefore noe 
writ of Justice or civill Power can reach to any forreigne place. 
To which its replyed that its great Pitty the King should loose a 
Province for want of a law to govern it. But the truth is some are 
willing to please them selves with shewes in stead of solid reasons. 
A King may have several provinces and distinct kingdomes vnder 
his Jurisdiction all which may be governed by their nationall and 
distinct "lawes yet hath their soveraigne equall Jurisdiction over 
them all and a compleat right to govern them, though not by one 
and the same law, the subjects of the King in Scottland have a 
Parliament and lawes and Customs of their own the King of Eng- 
land as such cannot command them out of Scottland nor ought he 
to Judge them for any offence committed against him as he is King 
of Scotland by the common or statute law of England, yet neverthe- 
less he would be adjudged vnskilled in law and Reason also that 
should say that the King of England cannot by law require any of 
his subjects in Scottland or Ireland to appear before him in England 
and there answer for any offence against his soveraignty and Juris- 
diction, in generall if the Massachusetts had been a distinct king- 
dom or state yet while the King of England is there King they owe 
obedience and subjection to him and are bound to repair to his 
Prescence into what part of his Dominion soever he should send for 
them for such an end the Massachusetts have liberty to make 


lawes of their own and not sending Burgesses to the Parliament of 
England they ought not to be vnder the lawes that are made there, 
nor to be judged by them (say some) but by their common lawes: 
It would have some weight had this countrey been ever erected 
into a distinct kingdome or Government of itselfe, but being a Col- 
lonie of naturall English subjects it may be doubted whether they 
are not included in the legislative Power of the Parliament of 
England but iff it should be granted that so they be not the ob- 
jection would not be of any force to conclude the negative of the 
Question, for as much as still the King within whose Dominions the 
Massachusetts are seated would require subjection to his Athoritie 
and Jurisdiction as King, and the denyall of it would be crimen 
laesae majestatis. It is noe matter by what law he would judge, 
whether the lawes of force in England or in the Massachusetts his 
right of Jurisdiction must needs be acknowledged absolute and 
intyre over all his subjects here as well as in other of his Dominions. 
3ly in the next place it is usually Alleaged that they are exempted 
and freed from all duties and services except the payment of the 5 th 
part of Royall oare holding as of the maner of east greenwitch in 
free and common socage. To this its by others replyed that both 
the King and many other lords and Gentlemen in England have 
many such Tennants yet are not the King's tennants freed therby 
from the duty of subjects, but only from such services as by other 
tenures they would be lyable vnto, its one thing to be a tennant 
to the King in this or that sort of tenures according to Ancient Cus- 
tome peculiar to severall persons and another to be subjects to the 
King which is common to all that are settled in any of his Dominions 
and soe are equaly vnder his Jurisdiction, be they naturall subjects 
by descent or necisary subjects by force of Armes and Constraint, 
or voluntary subjects by consent or agreement iff any please them- 
selves with such a distribution it comes all to one pass, because 
though obligation be stronger in one sort of subject then in an other 
yet the duty of obedience and subjection is equall to all that are 
soe related to a King as his subjects, the Massachusetts owe the 
5th part of gold and silver oare to Charles Stuart as their landlord 
and lord of east greenwitch, and not as King of England and who- 
soever were lord of east greenwitch as one was lately reported to 
be would justly claime the 5th part of the said oare in the Massa- 
chusetts though he were not King of England and the King of Eng- 
land iff he exchange the manor of east Greenwitch for some other 
would yet claime a right of Jurisdiction over the Massachusetts 
and find expressions enough in the pattent relating to him as sover- 
aine as well as the other relating to him as landlord which will fully 
enough and sufficiently warrant his claime, as those of Protection 


and Aleagiance allready mentioned proper only to King and sub- 
jects and never claimed by land lords as such from their tennants 
of any sort whatsoever: It would puzle all the logicians lawyers 
and divines in Europe to find under what tropick to place such kind 
of subjects as will allow none to have jurisdiction over them. 

4ly The objection which in the next place offers itselfe to Con- 
sideration is the liberty of making lawes with full and absolute 
Power to govern the People here religiously. This might have 
proved a dangerous obstruction to the King's soveraignty iff it had 
not been prevented by the restriction going along therewithall as 
in part hath been declared already; that there is a Power of govern- 
ment granted is beyond exception but it is yet to prove that the 
King in granting that Power hath divested himselfe of any parte of 
his soveraigne Athority over his subjects. Kings cannot be present 
in all parts of their dominions and therefore had need of ministers 
and deputies to officiate vnder them, and by virtue of their Athority 
in Appointing such they doe not divide their kingdomes or set vp 
other kings though they communicate their Power they doe it 
cumulative not privative as the schooles speake they never abdi- 
cate their power from themselves: The King may in any Corpora- 
tion or City in his Dominions where he comes exercise all the Au- 
thorise of the Governor of the place, he may and in case ought to 
call to account and take notice of the complaints against his ministers 
or deputies, and releive any of his subjects that are oppressed by 
them by their abusing his Athoritie, otherwise how could the King 
scatter away all evill [with his eyes *] from his throne or be a terror 
to the wicked which are essential to his office, as was well Answered 
by an old woman to the King of Macedon that iff he were not at 
leysure to doe her justice he should not be at leysure to be King, 
Absolute power doth not intend soveraigne or independant Power 
but such a degree of Power in Governing as needeth noe further 
Adition of athoritie to exert itselfe but may by what Athoritie is 
derived to it exercise and exert a compleat act of government soe 
as it is not in the liberty of the governed to hinder the perfecting 
of his act, by which perhaps or not at all Appeales from our highest 
Courts may be cut off least other wise perchance the remedye may 
prove worse then the disease: but what followes from thence such 
a Power may be necessary for the well ordering the government of 
the place least the life of Justice should be extinguished by an 
overlong suspension or retarding its execution, but the right of 
Jurisdiction in a soveraigne canot therby be denied vnless on should 
denie the King a right to hear petitions and the Complaints of those 
that may be oppressed and to relieve them which is so inseparable 

1 These words are struck out. 


to his office (saith one) that he cannot by any edict prohibitt the 
same from some Courts in England as well as in other kingdomes 
there lies noe Appeal strickly which should inhibitt the execution 
after sentance given Especially in Criminall Cases: yet even in 
those there may be Adress made to the praerogative of the Supreame 
Power, the deniall of which in some cases would convert jus in 
summam injur iam as the Proverb is, iff the Interposition of the 
People had not affoorded a sanctuary and seat of mercy to Johnathan 
after the rigorous sentence of Saul to prevent the Execution his life 
had been cutt of with great injustice: there may be the like Reason 
in others who might else be made a sacrifice to the rage of unreason- 
able men vpon a pretence of law and Justice, but in Civill actions 
appeales are very ordenary and in England they may in some Cases 
run on from lower Courts of Justice vntill they come to the Lords 
of the Parliament: but that they should in a kind of retrograde 
motion be brought back from the highest Courts of Justice to be de- 
termined in a mixt Assembly by the Plurality of Voyces; thecheiffe 
Rulers voting confusedly with the delegates of the People seems 
very irrationall, against nature and the Practice of nations in all 
Ages of the world the Instance before given about Saul and John- 
athan was an Extraordinary Case and soe not fitt to be made Pressi- 
dentiall; when things are taken from the Senate and brought back 
to the People its the ruine of the Common wealth saith Bodin: 
many societies and Corporations have Power to make orders and 
lawes yet the King may and frequently hath called the Judges to 
account and Punished them for their vnrighteous Administration; 
nor ever did any Corporation (And soe is the Governor and 
Comp[any] of the Massachusetts sometymes styled in the Pattent) 
continuing in its Alleageance dispute or question their King's Athor- 
itie over them, Corporations and families are related to a kingdome 
or Common wealth as the parts to the wholl in the one there is a 
Community Civill as there is in the other a Community natturall 
and many such Communityes Allied together and combined vnder 
a soveraigne Power make one Kingdome or Common wealth it is 
made by some the specifficall difference of a Corporation that it is 
a lawfull Community or society vnder a soveraigne Power and that 
nothing can be ordained by them contrary to the statutes established 
by the supreame Authoritie soe as their ordenances cannot be re- 
pugnant or contrary to the lawes and ordenances of the supreame 
Power vnder whom they are combined and as Bodin saith for as 
much as rebellious and seditious (which are vsually Punished in 
Corporations by the loss of their Priviledges) are suposed to be 
done by the wholl when the greater part consent, it is to be vnder- 
stood that the decree for the doing thereoff was made in their Com- 


mon Assembly in which Case the wholl is lyable to be punished 
though a great number in particular did not consent In the Spanish 
Judges which continue in their Alleageance and subjection to the 
King of Spaine some governments have Power of making Lawes 
and ordenances; and saith my Author there are in the severall Prov- 
inces ten cheiff Courts from which there lyeth noe appeale in matter 
of Justice though there doth in matter of state and Point of greivance 
to the King who takes order therein soe that all that is granted in 
this clause of the Pattent may be and is dayly Practised without any 
diminution of the King's right of Jurisdiction (yet it were to be 
wished that some things which seeme necisarie for good govern- 
ment were more expressly and in termes set downe in the Pattent 
then can be found there) iff any inferr from thence that whatever 
is necisary for the best advantage of Government either was in- 
tended or ought to be granted there and we may saffely and war- 
rantably soe Practice, that as some conceive will not be easyly 
granted espeacially in Prejudice of the soveraigne Power. It will 
not be admitted as sound doctrine in Pollicie that the subjects and 
inferior should prescribe to the superior that were to invert the very 
order of nature and to make the governors to be the governed, the 
family will be ill governed where the children shall vsurp vpon their 
Parents right and expect their Parents should grant them every 
thing they think they have need off or may be vsefull for them. 

5ly It is also pleaded that liberty is graunted in the Pattent to 
defend ours Against any that shall goe about to Anoy vs or seeke 
our detriment: that liberty its treu is founded on the very law of 
nature yet is it necisary it should be determined as to perticulers 
and expressed, for else without Commission from a soveraigne 
Power or orderly Combination in a free People it might be looked 
vpon as Piracie or disturbance of the Publique Peace to take vp 
necesary armes, but how this should be intended or Interpreted by 
Armes to apose resist the King's Athoritie can never enter into the 
minds of sober men. It is not necessary here to treat whither it 
be lawfull to resist soveraigne Athority that this clause hath any 
such meaning no knowing man can imagine it referring only vnto 
strangers and that but in an after clause in case of difference between 
the King and his subjects here praescribing a Rationall way for the 
Issuing there off which surely is more agreable to reason then force. 

6ly That which falls next vnder consideration is the security 
granted for any act done by the pattent an exemplification wheroff 
is said to be a sufficient discharge against the King his heirs or suc- 
cessors to which the Answer is given, that as it is saffe for vs that 
the Pattent should secure vs from danger of law or the Kings dis- 
pleasure soe it doth not in the least derogate from the Kings right 



of Jurisdiction over his subjects whose honor it is (as will be easyly 
granted) to preserve vnto them all the priviledges granted in his 
royall Charter; nor is it any dishonor to Assert his owne right of 
Empire over them both which may very well consist not withstand- 
ing the objections of the different minded to the controversy iff 
it had never been expressed in the Pattent the most soveraigne prince 
in a royall monarchy being obliged to attend to the law as his rule of 
government that law (which in the treu extent and meaning of it 
is solus populi) had been a sufficient Bulwarke against the exorbi- 
tancy of praerogative or absolute will in the Ruler and that which is 
in termes expressed doth but explicitely declare what every christian 
Prince is implicitely obliged vpon his entring vpon the seate of 
government to maintaine and cannot but owne himselfe soe to be 
(Although such be the swelling nature of mans Ambition that it 
needeth ofttymes the strongest repugula to restraine it, soe farr as 
reason will allow) but certaine it is noe less praeter intentionem quant 
rationem to force out of such a clause any such Conclusion as should 
debarr a prince from calling his subjects to an account in case for 
therby he should be deprived of the sword of Justice, with which he 
is girded by God himselfe, or have his hands bound vp from being 
able either to maintaine his own right or releive other of his subjects 
oppressed by their vnrighteous neighbors both which were vnsuffer- 
able vsurpation and injustice. 

7ly That which I have heard in the last place objected (which 
although it be the least insisted on in open veiw, yet is it not suposed 
to have the least influence on their minds that are soe strongly en- 
gaged on the negative) is the danger they fear would arise to the 
inhabitants of the Massachusetts should they be necessitated to 
own their dependance vpon the King soe farr as to acknowledge his 
right of Jurisdiction over them: For Answer to this grand scruple 
I have heard it said first in Generall that fear and Jealousy are 
observed alwaies to be the worst Councellors that can be advised 
withall in exigents attended with difficulties or danger: for as the 
philosopher speaks by sugesting dark and terrible events they often 
tymes dark the eyes of reason and Judgment and sometymes by an 
over Curious discovery of vnlawfullness in some of the soccors 
presented by reason of insufficiency or difficulty in others, or else 
submitting of them to the false interpretation of a crooked and 
praejudicate suspition, either none are made vse of or those that 
are most vnable to releive whence it is that men vnder the Power 
of those reasonless and hurtfull Passions doe frequently betray 
themselves into the hands of these misscheiffs and dangers they 
would most of all shun and avoid wheras those who are led by the 
Conduct of true reason are neither willing to flatter themselves into 


a careless security on the one hand nor yet to distract themselves 
on the other hand with groundless fancyes and surmises as to de- 
cline the paths of righteousness which only will in the Isue lead to 
quietness and safety. But more perticularly it is as truly affirmed 
that feared inconveniences and dangers may not denie another 
mans right much less the Kings: we may not admitt of the least 
morall Evill to provide for the greatest Civill good, where God hath 
made subjection a Positive duty man may not dispence with obe- 
dience vpon the pretence of danger or inconvenience If the su- 
pream soveraigne of the world hath admitted an heathen Prince 
to pitch his royall Pavillion amongst the tents of Judah as well as 
Egipt, Zedekiah will be called to an account as a faithless Person 
for breaking the oath of god. Kings hearts are in the hands of god 
and soe are their scepters to be extended or continued at his pleas- 
ure, he setts vp whom he pleaseth nor is any man to be denied his 
right because it is supose'd or feared he will abuse it the best of 
kings have abused their power as well as the worst of which they 
shall give an account to god in his owne tyme and way who is as 
well king of kings as lord of lords In the mean tyme their acts are 
valid before men however they may be vnrighteous before god. 
Thou and Ziba devide the land was an enormous yet a valid sentance. 
Nero though a persecuting tyrant yet must be obeyed for Conscience 
sake not against god but in all things wherin he hath right to com- 
mand Calvins opinion may in this case be of vse Inst. lib. 4 cap. 
20. sec. 25 but if we look to the word of god it will lead vs further, 
that we be subject not only to the government of those Princes 
which execute their office towards vs well and with such faithf ullness 
as they ought but also of all them who by what means soever have 
the dominion over vs allthough they performe nothing less then 
that which pertaines to the Duty of Princes and in the end of the 
same section let vs rather insist on the proving that which doth not 
soe easyly enter into the minds of men that that eminent and divine 
Power which god hath by his word conferred on the ministers of his 
righteousness and Judgment may reside in the vilest Person and 
most vnworthy of all honor iff soe be he have the Publique Athoratie 
in his Possession and that he ought therefore to be had in as great 
reverence and esteeme of his subjects so farr as concernes Publiks 
obedience as well as the best of kings you may see more to the same 
Purpose in 3 or 4 sections of that chapter but to Prevent their fear 
of the worst in this kind they may make vse of the Confidence of a 
great divine whose worth and ability is sufficiently knowne and ad- 
mired by them of the contrary Perswasion in this Question in his 
Answer to fiat lux pag. 434 where speaking of turning to Poperie he 
saith it is evident which way the generall vogue in England will 


goe and that at least till fyre and faggott come which (Blessed be 
god) we are secured from whilest our present soveraigne swaies the 
scepter of the land and hope our Posterity may be soe vnder his 
offspring for many generations. 1 

Thus, Sir, I have endeavored your satisfaction by presenting to 
your view the reasons Pro and con wherwith I have heard this ques- 
tion often discust. I durst not adventure to anticipate the Eminency 
of your owne Judgment in making the Conclusion nor shall I de- 
taine you longer then in Perusing a few directions of my own ob- 
servation if any should yet hesitate and cannot come to a resolution 
either way in Point of right, let them first attend to the rules of 
scripture Rom. 13. i, 2. et segu: 1 Pet. 2. 13. et sequ with Prov. 16. 
14. Eel. 8. 2, 3, 4. 2ly. let them take notice of the rules of Pru- 
dence which will sugest many Considerations of inevitable Danger 
and evill that will attend the denyall of the Kings right of Juris- 
diction here; obvious to the weakest Capacity: with good Conscience 
may a man in case part with his own right skin for skin and all that 
a man hath will he give for his life, was an old Proverb yet noe man 
can take away anothers right without breach of a rule, it will not 
be amiss sometymes to make a virtue of necessity as it hapened to 
Micah whose necessity gave him so much Prudence as with silence 
to put vp that Injury which with great heat at first he seemed for- 
ward enough to withstand before he weighed the inconvenience of 
falling into the hands of Angry fellowes to the loss of his own and his 
households lives, but iff such as went about to spoyle him of his 
Imaginary Dyety (with which he accounted himselfe soe priviledged 
but a little before had been armed with the Authoratie of the nation 
to which he belonged doubtless his destruction had been the more 
to be questioned seing he might have supplyed himselfe with gods 
of another mettell at a cheaper rate then the loss of all he had and 
ruine of his family iff he could have promised to himself any security 
by the prescence of such Protectors as he falsly suposed. Lastly let 
them but consult the experience and Practice of the church of god 
in all ages from the Primative tymes to the dayes wherin wee live, 

1 This may give some clue to the date of the paper. In 1661, Vincent Canes, 
a Franciscan friar, published Fiat Lux, or, a general Conduct to a right Under- 
standing in the great Combustions and Broils about Religion here in England be- 
twixt Papist and Protestant, Presbyterian and Independent. Dr. John Owen 
(1616-1683) wrote in reply Animadversions on the Fiat Lux, printed anony- 
mously in London in 1662. This called out an Epistle to the Authour of the Anim- 
adversions upon Fiat Lux from Canes, and a Vindication from Owen. Canes' 
first work, Fiat Lux, was also answered by Samuel Mather, in A Defence of the 
Protestant Religion, Dublin, 1671. On the death of John Norton the General 
Court of Massachusetts invited Dr. Owen to remove to the Colony. The letter 
is in 2 Mass. Hist. Collections, 11. 265. 


within the Compass of which memorable and solemn Instances may 
be given to shew how vnsaffe and dangerous it is for subjects either 
to resist or stand vpon too high termes with them whom Providence 
hath exalted to the place of supreame Authority over them vpon a 
Pretence or hope of securing themselves by the way of externall 


Amongst many sad Examples let them record those two the more 
remarkable because within the ken of our own knowledge or re- 
membrance the first is that of the Bohemians reported vnder the 
Authoraty of Comenis * their last Bishop whose destiny it was as by 
his dolefull hystorie of those things appears to close the eyes of the 
Dying Protestant interest in that nation the originall of their last 
sad and miserable fate was this as he relates it. the People vpon some 
vnjust taxations thinking them selves necessitated to take vp Armes 
for their defence became lyable thereby to be Prosecuted by the 
Civill Authoraty for Rebellion against the soveraigne and so were 
easyly throwne downe head long into such a Presipis of misery and 
Confusion that they were never able to recover themselves thence 
vntell they had brought inevitable ruine vpon themselves and theyre 
whole party, the other is that of the reformed churches in france 
of not much above fourty yeares standing who being drawen in by 
force of Armes to oppose the demand of the soveraigne Power in 
some things Pertaining to the militia vpon a Jealousy and Appre- 
hention that by yielding therevnto they were like to be vndermined 
in the lyberty of their religion by that injustifiable to be sure vnsur- 
passfull resistance of theirs it came to pass that not only the wholl 
nation was put in to a dreadfull Combustion which soon brake forth 
into an open Civill warr that could not be quenched till not only 
the Prince and flower of the Nobility and Gentry on both sides were 
cutt off but themselves forced to resigne vp all their Cautionary 
Townes and strongholds to the number of ninety three and were 
forced after all to make their submission on their knees craving 
Pardon for resisting the King's Power, humbly acknowledging also 
that the Jealousy they had of having the liberty of their Conscience 
taken away by the spreading of false rumors amongst them had 
plunged them into those miseries. 

The fatall Consequences of the late transaction in the He of 
Wight might not impertenently be aleaged vpon this occasion Did 
not according to the saing of a late historian the following modern 

1 Johann Amos Comenius (1592-1671). The reference is probably to his 
Historia Persecutionum Ecdesiae Bohemicae (1648). 


Truth too hard at the heeles endanger the sticking out of the teeth 
of the Pursuers. 

Vpon these and such like Considerations some intelligent Per- 
sons in the Massachusetts doe believe that allthough at present 
Interest or Passion may prevaile with some men to opose moderate 
Councells and Endeavors yet iff it should come to a pinch they would 
with Bellarmine, who in his life had taught the doctrine of mens 
merit, yet at his death concluded it the saffest way to trust to the 
merit of Christ. Although men may a while dispute against the 
Kings Authority and stand vpon their own right, they may in a 
little tyme crave his mercy and Clemency seing against a King there 
is no rising vp. Sir, you see I have much exeded the bounds of a 
letter as well as my own intentions out of an earnest desire of your 
satisfaction that makes me Ambitious to serve you. The Confident 
hope of your favorable acceptance of my Endeavors therin doth 
sufficiently secure me against the severity of that Censure which 
otherwise the Imperfection of my work might deserve thus in the 
multitude of Hurryes and distractions I take leave and remaine 
yours soe long as men may be their own 

A prudent man foresees the evill and hideth himselfe the simple 
pass on etc Prov: 22. 3 

The wrath of a King is as the messenger of death but a wise man 
will pacifie«it. Prov: 16. 14. 

Remarks were made during the meeting by Messrs. Sanborn 
and Wendell. 

igi3-] COINS AND MEDALS. 303 


THE stated meeting was held on Thursday, the 13th in- 
stant, at three o'clock, p. m.; the President, Mr. Adams, 
in the chair. 

The record of the last meeting was read and approved; 
and the Librarian reported the list of donors to the Library 
since the last meeting. 

The Cabinet-Keeper reported the gift of an engraving of 
William Stedman, member of Congress from 1802 to 18 10, 
by St. Memin, from Mrs. Kate R. Tilton; of two etchings, 
published by the Iconographic Society of Boston, one of the 
First Church in Boston ("The Old Brick") by C. J. Watson, 
and the other of Christ Church by Axel H. Haig, from Mr. 
C. F. Adams; and of a bust of Noah Webster, Lexicographer, 
and a Corresponding Member, the seventh on the roll, of this 
Society, 1792 to 1843, fr° m Mr. Ford; and then referred to 
the collection of Massachusetts coins and medals, exhibited 
on the President's table, purchased for the Society by Dr. 
Storer, Curator of Coins and Medals. 

Dr. Storer spoke as follows: 

On taking charge of the medal collection I naturally first 
examined with great interest the Appleton collection, as it is 
one of the most famous collections of Americana extant, no- 
table perhaps not so much for the number of its specimens, 
only 3546, as for the many rarities it contains. I have pre- 
pared a list combining the Appleton collection and the general 
collection of the Society. 

It does not seem to me that it comes properly within the 
province of a Society such as this to attempt to make a general 
collection of coins or medals; nor,- when I think of the $5000 
or more sometimes paid for a single specimen, does it seem 
advisable to attempt, at present, to specialize in Americana. 


Of course numismatic gifts of any kind will not be refused, 
either in the shape of medals or in current money wherewith 
to purchase medals. On the other hand it does seem to me 
eminently proper and desirable that this Society should in- 
clude in its collections all attainable coins and medals in any 
way relating to Massachusetts, and more especially to Boston. 
Such medals not only illustrate the gradual improvement in 
the medallic art, but also have a very real historic interest 
from the men and events they commemorate. 

In the two months that I have been working upon this sub- 
ject I have already collected descriptions of more than four 
hundred medals referring to Massachusetts and hope event- 
ually to lay before you a numismatic history of the State. 
We have now in our collection 263 of these Massachusetts 
medals, including coins of the early revolutionary period and 

You will find among these medals now on the table a num- 
ber of medals of Harvard Societies, some twenty I believe, 
many of which I had never heard of although I have been the 
curator of the Harvard coin collection for many years. There 
are also some very rare storecards, interesting as showing 
what old Boston firms had sufficient energy to try to alleviate 
the scarcity of circulating small change in the stringent times 
of 1837 and of the Civil War. There are also many masonic 
medals, several rare school prizes, the curious "two minute 
man" of the Charlestown Antiques, awards of various societies, 
medals struck to celebrate anniversaries and the like, and 
a number of personal medals including a probably unique 
one of Daniel Webster, and an interesting old French medal 
of Lalande, the astronomer, which includes Boston among 
the cities of the learned societies of which he was a member. 
He was one of the earliest foreign members of the American 
Academy, elected in 1782, I think. Let me suggest that 
doubtless some of the members of this Society have had or 
will have medals struck in their honor, and nothing could 
be more fitting than that they should present a copy of any 
such medal to this Society. 

The Corresponding Secretary reported the receipt of an 
invitation from the International Congress of Historical 

1913.] JAMES M. BUGBEE. 305 

Studies to appoint delegates to the meeting to be held in 
London, April 3 to 9, 191 3. He also reported that Mr. C. F. 
Adams had been appointed delegate, with authority to add 
other delegates at his discretion. 

The Editor reported the gift of a letter written by John 
Brown to his wife and children, November 8, 1859, 1 f° ur days 
after the sentence of death had been imposed upon him — 
one of the last letters written by him, — from William Endicott; 
of a number of letters from the papers of Francis and William 
Baylies of Plymouth, Mass., from Dr. Loring W. Puffer; and, 
from J. F. Jameson, of a valuable calendar of the papers of 
Gov. William Shirley, in foreign and domestic collections, pre- 
pared for Mr. Charles H. Lincoln in compiling his two volumes 
of Shirley Correspondence printed by the Society of Colonial 

Announcement was made of the death of James M. Bugbee, 
a Resident Member, which occurred at his home in Winchester 
on February 8th. In making this announcement the Presi- 
dent observed that as respects loss of members the Society 
had of late been fortunate. Three deaths only had occurred 
during the year 191 2; and Mr. Bugbee's was the first in the 
current year. As the funeral of Mr. Bugbee had taken place 
only on the previous Monday, and the President was 
absent from Boston at that time, no arrangement had been 
practicable for the usual characterization at this meeting. 
The President said, therefore, that he should confine himself 
to the announcement of the vacancy thus caused in the roll 
of Resident Membership, and to the appointment of a member 
to prepare a Memoir. He designated Mr. Stanwood. He 
then, in pursuance of the usual practice, stated that James 
McKellar Bugbee was born at Perry, Maine, December 17, 
1837, and elected a Resident Member of the Society Novem- 
ber 9, 1882. At the time of his election Mr. Bugbee was ac- 
cordingly closing his forty-fifth year, and at his death had been 
a member over thirty years. His name then stood thirteenth 
on the roll. During his membership Mr. Bugbee attended 
forty-nine out of a total of two hundred and seventy-eight 
meetings held. His services to the Society and his contribu- 
tions to its Proceedings had been considerable. In 1884 he 

1 It is printed in Sanborn, Life and Letters of John Brown, 585. 



was on the Committee to publish the Letter Books of Judge 
Sewall. At the April meeting of 1887 ne g ay e to the Society 
an engraving of Phillis Wheatley, and in 1890 he presented a 
letter on the authorship of the Journal (1776) erroneor:ly 
ascribed to Ebenezer Wild. 1 He communicated a true Jou ial 
of Wild (1776-1781) at the October meeting of the same year, 
together with letters of two French officers who served in our 
Revolutionary War. 2 In March, 189 1, Mr. Bugbee was ap- 
pointed to write a Memoir of Samuel C. Cobb. This he pre- 
pared, and it was communicated the following February. 3 
In 1892 he served on the Committee to examine the Library 
and Cabinet, and prepared the report. In 1897 he communi- 
cated a Memoir of Henry L. Pierce; 4 and in 1898 and 1899 he 
served on the Committee to audit the Treasurer's accounts. In 
1901 he prepared the Memoir of Samuel F. McCleary, which 
appears in our Proceedings? The last meeting Mr. Bugbee 
attended was that of November, 1903. For the closing 
years of life Mr. Bugbee suffered from an illness which caused 
a discontinuance of his activities, in connection with this 
Society as well as otherwise; in fact for a considerable period 
preceding his death he was confined to his home by physical 

Mr. C. F. Adams then read a paper on 

Sectional Feeling in 1861. 

Among the contemporary memoirs, correspondence and 
reports relating to the early days of the Civil War, few are 
of more importance, and of greater historical value as evi- 
dence of a witness on the spot at the time, than the letters of 
William Howard Russell, then the famous Crimean war 

The fact is probably forgotten by those of this generation, 
but it was Russell who, in connection with the operations 
carried on before Sebastopol in 1854-55, practically originated 
what became the system of Special Newspaper Correspondents 
in time of war, which subsequently in the Indian Mutiny, 

1 2 Proceedings, VI. 39. 2 lb., 78. 3 lb., vn. 318. 

4 lb., xi. 386. 5 lb., xv. 255. 


and our own Civil War, and yet later in the Russo-Turkish, 
South African, and Franco-German operations, was carried to 
such a degree of elaborate perfection. In 1854, however, the 
specialty of war correspondence was as yet undeveloped; 
and the power of the modern daily newspaper as an organ 
of public opinion had only begun to make itself felt. There 
had then for a period of forty years, or since Waterloo, been 
no large military operations in which the whole world took 
interest; and in the stage of newspaper and other development 
of the period up to 181 5 either Napoleon or Wellington would 
have looked upon a special war correspondent travelling with 
the army as nothing more nor less than a spy, and, in all 
human probability, would have summarily dealt with him as 
such. Napoleon was always a law unto himself; Wellington 
never tolerated civilians about his headquarters, and dis- 
couraged correspondence of any description. Moreover, the 
means of communication were then so limited and slow that 
practically there was no room for the newspaper reporter, or 
channels through which he could work. 

When the war in the Crimea broke out (1854) the journal- 
istic world had largely developed, and was on the threshold 
of a new era. Its power was about to be felt. Under these 
circumstances, the Times sent W. H. Russell out with the 
expedition under Lord Raglan, tolerated in a way at the head- 
quarters of Sir DeLacy Evans, a division commander. Sub- 
sequently, his letters to the Times marked a distinct epoch 
in the memorable development of journalistic enterprise. 
Probably no special war correspondence before or since has 
excited such attention, exercised so great an influence, or so 
built up the personal reputation of the correspondent, as well 
as that of the journal in which his letters appeared. The Thun- 
derer, as the Times was called, and which figures so promi- 
nently as such in Kinglake's dramatic Crimean narrative, 
then touched its climax. It exercised an influence world-wide 
in character, and never possessed before or since by a daily 

The Crimean War came to a close with the Treaty of Paris 
in 1855, and five years later, in i860, our coming troubles were 
clearly foreshadowed. Their character and magnitude, of 
course, no one divined. Nevertheless, it was apparent that 


events of first-class importance were immediately impending. 
The proprietors of the London Times evinced their apprecia- 
tion of this fact by sending to America — not without a con- 
siderable flourish of journalistic trumpets — their famous 
Crimean war correspondent. His coming was an event; and 
so recognized, especially in the United States, South as well 
as North. Sailing from London March 3, 1861, W. H. Russell 
landed in New York on the 16th of the month; twelve days 
after the change of administration marked by the displacing 
of Buchanan by Lincoln. A period of death-like lull before 
the bursting of a storm, the minds and thoughts of all were 
in it intent on what next was to happen. Remaining in New 
York until the 25th of March, Russell then went on to Wash- 
ington. He was in Washington until the 12th of April, when, 
as matters were then obviously coming to a crisis, he left for a 
trip through the South, going by way of Baltimore and Norfolk 
to Charleston. The firing upon Fort Sumter occurred upon the 
13th; and Russell reached Charleston on the 15th. Remaining 
there some time, he thence made the circuit of the Confederate 
States by way of Montgomery, Mobile, New Orleans and the 
Mississippi River, getting back to Washington on the 3d of 
July, — the day before Congress met in special session. On 
the 2 1 st of the month, he went out, following the track of 
McDowell's advancing army, and witnessed much which oc- 
curred later in that day after the Bull Run rout of the Union 
Army, and during its panicky return to Washington. 

While journeying through the South after the firing on 
Sumter in April, and until the end of June, — a period of ten 
weeks, — during which events of the utmost importance oc- 
curred, Russell wrote long and repeated letters to the London 
Times. Subsequently, upon his return to England, on April 6, 
1862, having then been in America a little over one year, he 
published, under the title of My Diary, North and South, 
whatever he deemed of value, either in his despatches to the 
Times, or in the private diary or note-book he kept while in 
the United States. 

Having the special privileges of War Correspondent during 
his weeks passed in the Confederacy, he was not at liberty 
immediately to disclose through the public press much that 
he observed as a neutral, and a good deal that was said to 


him by public men, military and civil, on either side. This 
material he in large part subsequently used; but on look- 
ing over the printed volume entitled My Diary, North and 
South, and comparing it with the original letters in the 
Times, I have, here and there, found passages in his let- 
ters omitted by Russell in his printed volume, which still 
possess great historical interest. They are the evidence of 
an unprejudiced witness on the spot at the time. The pic- 
tures conveyed are photographic. One of these — included 
in a letter which appeared in the Times of May 28, 1861, 
but omitted in the subsequently published "Diary" — con- 
tains a most interesting description of the state of feeling 
then existing in South Carolina as respects the Northern 
States generally, and the New England States more particu- 
larly. .The bitterness of language he reports was something 
now almost inconceivable. 

It is sometimes urged that it is useless as well as unde- 
sirable to rake out from the muck-heap of the past these evi- 
dences of a state of feeling long since passed away. To do 
so will, it is urged, result in no good, and is inconsistent with 
the kindly feeling now prevailing. Let the thing pass out 
of memory, and be forgotten! 

This may be sound from the present patriotic united-country 
point of view. This is, however, an Historical Society. We 
have nothing to do with patriotism or existing kindly national 
feeling. What we want to get at are the facts of history; and 
in getting at those facts in connection with the events of our 
Civil War, it is not only important but it is absolutely essen- 
tial that the historian should correctly understand the state 
of feeling then existing. There can be no better or more 
graphic evidence on this point than is found in the letters of 
Russell. I, therefore, propose to include in this paper, as so 
much material of history made accessible in the Proceedings 
of the Society, a portion of what then appeared in the columns 
of the Times, which, for reasons which seemed to him at the 
time good and sufficient, Russell omitted from his subsequent 
printed volume, — all the investigator now has before him. 
These omitted passages, written from Montgomery a few days 
only after the Times correspondent had left Charleston and 
South Carolina, read as follows: 


The Civil War in America. 1 

From our Special Correspondent. 

The State of South Carolina. 

Nothing I could say can be worth one fact which has forced itself 
upon my mind in reference to the sentiments which prevail among 
the gentlemen of this State. I have been among them for several 
days. I have visited their plantations, I have conversed with them 
freely and fully, and I have enjoyed that frank, courteous, and 
graceful intercourse which constitutes an irresistible charm of their 
society. From all quarters has come to my ears the echoes of the 
same voice; it may be feigned, but there is not discord in the note, 
and it sounds in wonderful strength and monotony all over the coun- 
try. Shades of George III, of North, of Johnson, of all who con- 
tended against the great rebellion which tore these colonies from 
England, can you hear the chorus which rings through the State of 
Marion, Sumter, and Pinckney, and not clap your ghostly hands in 
triumph? That voice says, "If we could only get one of the Royal 
race of England to rule over us, we should be content." Let there 
be no misconception on this point. That sentiment, varied in a hun- 
dred ways, has been repeated to me over and over again. There is a 
general admission that the means to such an end are wanting, and 
that the desire cannot be gratified. But the admiration for monar- 
chical institutions on the English model, for privileged classes, and 
for a landed aristocracy and gentry, is undisguised and apparently 
genuine. With the pride of having achieved their independence is 
mingled in the South Carolinians' hearts a strange regret at the re- 
sult and consequences, and many are they who "would go back to- 
morrow if we could." An intense affection for the British connexion, 
a love of British habits and customs, a respect for British sentiment, 
law, authority, order, civilization, and literature pre-eminently dis- 
tinguish the inhabitants of this State, who, glorying in their descent 
from ancient families on the three islands, whose fortunes they still 
follow, and with whose members they maintain not infrequently 
familiar relations, regard with an aversion of which it is impossible 
to give an idea to one who has not seen its manifestations, the people 
of New England and the populations of the Northern States, whom 
they regard as tainted beyond cure by the venom of "Puritanism." 
Whatever may be the cause, this is the fact and the effect. "The 
State of South Carolina was," I am told, "founded by gentlemen." 
It was not established by witch-burning Puritans, by cruel, perse- 
cuting fanatics, who implanted in the North the standard of Tor- 

1 The London Times, May 28, 1861. 


quemada, and breathed into the nostrils of their newly born col- 
onies all the ferocity, bloodthirstiness, and rabid indulgence of the 
Inquisition. It is absolutely astounding to a stranger who aims 
at the preservation of a decent neutrality, to mark the violence of 

these opinions. "If that confounded ship had sunk with those 

Pilgrim Fathers on board," says one, "we never should have been 
driven to these extremities!" "We could have got on with the fa- 
natics if they had been either Christians or gentlemen," says another; 
"for in the first case they would have acted with common charity; 
and in the second they would have fought when they insulted us; 
but there are neither Christians nor gentlemen among them!" 
"Anything on earth!" exclaims a third, "any freedom of govern- 
ment, any tyranny or despotism you will; but" — and here is an 
appeal more terrible than the adjuration of all the Gods — "nothing 
on earth shall ever induce us to submit to any union with the brutal, 
bigotted, blackguards of the New England States, who neither com- 
prehend nor regard the feelings of gentlemen! Man, woman, and 
child, we '11 die first! " Imagine these and an infinite variety of sim- 
ilar sentiments uttered by courtly, well-educated men, who set 
great store on a nice observance of the usages of society, and who 
are only moved to extreme bitterness and anger when they speak 
of the North, and you will fail to conceive the intensity of the dis- 
like of the South Carolinians for the Free States. There are na- 
tional antipathies on our side of the Atlantic, which are tolerably 
strong and have been unfortunately pertinacious and long-lived. 
The hatred of the Italian for the Tedesco, of the Greek for the 
Turk, of the Turk for the Russ, is warm and fierce enough to satisfy 
the Prince of Darkness, not to speak of a few little pet aversions 
among allied powers, and the atoms of composite empires; but they 
are all mere indifference and neutrality of feeling compared to the 
animosity evinced by the "gentry" of South Carolina for the "rabble 
of the North." 

The contests of Cavalier and Roundhead, of Vendean and Re- 
publican, even of Orangeman and Croppy, have been elegant joust- 
ings, regulated by the finest rules of chivalry, compared with those 
which North and South will carry on if their deeds support their 
words. "Immortal hate, the study of revenge" will actuate every 
blow, and never in the history of the world, perhaps, will go forth 
such a dreadful vce metis as that which may be heard before the 
fight has begun. There is nothing in all the dark caves of human 
passion so cruel and deadly as the hatred the South Carolinians 
profess for the Yankees. That hatred has been swelling for years 
till it is the very life blood of the State. It has set South Carolina 
to work steadily to organize her resources for the struggle which she 


intended to provoke if it did not come in the course of time. "In- 
compatibility of temper" would have been sufficient ground for the 
divorce, and I am satisfied that there has been a deep-rooted design 
conceived, in some men's minds thirty years ago, and extended 
gradually year after year to others, to break away from the Union 
at the very first opportunity. The North is to South Carolina a 
corrupt and evil thing, to which for long years she has been bound 
by burning chains, while monopolists and manufacturers fed on her 
tender limbs. She has been bound in a Maxentian union to the 
object she loathes. New England is to her the incarnation of moral 
and political weakness and social corruption. It is the source of 
everything which South Carolina hates, and of the torrents of free 
thought and taxed manufactures, of Abolitionism and of Filibuster- 
ing, which have flooded the land. Believe a Southern man as he 
believes himself, and you must regard New England and the kindred 
States as the birthplace of impurity of mind among men and of un- 
chastity in women — the home of Free Love, of Fourierism, of 
infidelity, of Abolitionism, of false teachings in political economy, 
and in social life; a land saturated with the drippings of rotten phi- 
losophy, with the poisonous infections of a fanatic press; .without 
honor or modesty; whose wisdom is paltry cunning, whose valour 
and manhood have been swallowed up in a corrupt, howling dema- 
gogy, and in the marts of a dishonest commerce. It is the mer- 
chants of New York who fit out ships for the slave trade, and carry 
it on in Yankee ships. It is the capital of the North which supports, 
and it is the Northern men who concoct and execute, the Filibuster- 
ing expeditions which have brought discredit on the Slaveholding 
States. In the large cities people are corrupted by itinerant and 
ignorant lecturers — in the towns and in the country by an unprin- 
cipled press. The populations, indeed, know how to read and write, 
but they don't know how to think, and they are the easy victims 
of the wretched impostors on all the 'ologies and 'isms who swarm 
over the region, and subsist by lecturing on subjects which the 
innate vices of mankind induce them to accept with eagerness, 
while they assume the garb of philosophical abstractions to cover 
their nastiness, in deference to a contemptible and universal 

"Who fills the butchers' shops with large blue flies?" Assuredly 
the New England demon who has been persecuting the South till 
its intolerable cruelty and insolence force her, in a spasm of agony, 
to rend her chains asunder. The New Englander must have some- 
thing to persecute, and as he has hunted down all his Indians, 
burnt all his witches, and persecuted all his opponents to the death, 
he invented Abolitionism as the sole resource left to him for the 

1913.] SECTIONAL PEELING IN 1861. 313 

gratification of his favorite passion. Next to this motive principle 
is his desire to make money dishonestly, trickily, meanly, and shab- 
bily. He has acted on it in all his relations with the South, and has 
cheated and plundered her in all his dealings by villanous tariffs. 
If one objects that the South must have been a party to this, because 
her boast is that her statesmen have ruled the Government of 
the country, you are told that the South yielded out of pure good- 
nature. Now, however, she will have free trade, and will open the 
coasting trade to foreign nations, and shut out from it the hated 
Yankees, who so long monopolized and made their fortunes by it. 
Under all the varied burdens and miseries to which she was sub- 
jected, the South held fast to her sheet anchor. South Carolina 
was the mooring ground in which it found the surest hold. The doc- 
trine of State Rights was her salvation, and the fiercer the storm 
raged against her — the more stoutly demagogy, immigrant pre- 
ponderance, and the blasts of universal suffrage bore down on her, 
threatening to sweep away the vested interests of the South in her 
right to govern the States — the greater was her confidence and the 
more resolutely she held on her cable. The North attracted "hordes 
of ignorant Germans and Irish" and the scum of Europe, while 
the South repelled them. The industry, the capital of the North 
increased with enormous rapidity, under the influence of cheap 
labor and manufacturing ingenuity and enterprise, in the villages 
which swelled into towns, and the towns which became cities, 
under the unenvious eye of the South. She, on the contrary, toiled 
on slowly, clearing the forests, and draining swamps, to find new 
cotton-grounds and rice-fields, for the employment of her only in- 
dustry and for the development of her only capital — " involuntary 
labour." The tide of immigration waxed stronger, and by degrees 
she saw the districts into which she claimed the right to introduce 
that capital closed against her, and occupied by free labor. The 
doctrine of the squatter "sovereignty" and the force of hostile 
tariffs, which placed a heavy duty on the very articles which the 
South most required, completed the measure of injuries to which 
she was subjected, and the spirit of discontent found vent in fiery 
debate, in personal insults, and in acrimonious speaking and writ- 
ing, which increased in intensity in proportion as the Abolition 
movement and the contest between the Federal principle and State 
Rights, became more vehement. I am desirous of showing in a 
few words, for the information of English readers, how it is that the 
Confederacy which Europe knew simply as a political entity has 
succeeded in dividing itself. The Slave States held the doctrine, 
or say they did, that each State was independent as France or as 
England, but that for certain purposes they chose a common agent 



to deal with foreign nations, and to impose taxes for the purpose of 
paying the expenses of the agency. We, it appears, talked of Amer- 
ican citizens when there were no such beings at all. There were, 
indeed, citizens of the sovereign State of South Carolina, or of 
Georgia or Florida, who permitted themselves to pass under that 
designation, but it was merely as a matter of personal convenience. 
It will be difficult for Europeans to understand this doctrine, as 
nothing like it has been heard before, and no such Confederation 
of sovereign States has ever existed in any country in the world. 
The Northern men deny that it existed here, and claim for the Fed- 
eral government powers not compatible with such assumptions. 
They have lived for the Union, they served it, they labored for and 
made money by it. A man as a New York man was nothing — as 
an American citizen he was a great deal. A South Carolinian ob- 
jected to lose his identity in any description which included him 
and a "Yankee clockmaker" in the same category. The Union 
was against him ; he remembered that he came from a race of English 
gentlemen who had been persecuted by the representatives — for he 
will not call them the ancestors — of the Puritans of New England, 
and he thought that they were animated by the same hostility to 
himself. He was proud of old names, and he felt pleasure in tracing 
his connexion with old families in the old country. His plantations 
were held by old charters, or had been in the hands of his fathers 
for several generations; and he delighted to remember that, when 
the Stuarts were banished from their throne and their country, 
the burgesses of South Carolina had solemnly elected the wandering 
Charles King of their State, and had offered him an asylum and a 
kingdom. The philosophical historian may exercise his ingenuity 
in conjecturing what would have been the result if the fugitive had 
carried his fortunes to Charleston. 

South Carolina contains 34,000 square miles and a population of 
720,000 inhabitants, of whom 385,000 are black slaves. In the old 
Rebellion it was distracted between revolutionary principles and 
the loyalist predilections, and at least one-half of the planters 
were faithful to George III, nor did they yield till Washington sent 
an army to support their antagonists and drove them from the colony. 

In my next letter I shall give a brief account of a visit to some of 
the planters, and as far as it can be made consistent with the obliga- 
tions which the rites and rights of hospitality impose on the guest as 
well as upon the host. These gentlemen are well-bred, courteous, 
and hospitable. A genuine aristocracy, they have time to cultivate 
their minds, to apply themselves to politics and the guidance of 
public affairs. They travel and read, love field sports, racing, 
shooting, hunting, and fishing, are bold horsemen, and good shots. 


But, after all, the State is a modern Sparta — an aristocracy resting 
on a helotry, and with nothing else to rest upon. Although they 
profess (and, I believe, sincerely) to hold opinions in opposition to 
the opening of the slave trade, it is nevertheless true that the clause 
in the Constitution of the Confederate States which prohibited the 
importation of negroes was especially and energetically resisted by 
them, because, as they say, it seemed to be an admission that slavery 
was in itself an evil and a wrong. Their whole system rests on slav- 
ery and as such they defend it. They entertain very exaggerated 
ideas of the military strength of their little community, although 
one may do full justice to its military spirit. Out of their whole 
population they cannot reckon more than 60,000 adult men by any 
arithmetic, and as there are nearly 30,000 plantations which must 
be, according to law, superintended by white men, a considerable 
number of these adults cannot be spared from the State for service 
in the open field. The planters boast that they can raise their crops 
without any inconvenience by the labor of their negroes, and they 
seem confident that the negroes will work without superintendence. 
But the experiment is rather dangerous, and it will only be tried 
in the last extremity. 

Mr. GPvEENOUGH contributes from his collection the following 

Donald Campbell to John Hancock. 

Honored Sir, — Altho it is natural for a person to remember 
those things that partains to himself, better than other Persons ; yet 
having the Honor of Acquaintance since May 1775; at Kingsbridge 
and happy in escorting the Eastern Delegates to Congress, and 
Yourself as the prime Supporter of the Measures that happily ended 
in the Establishment of Our Independence; and being particularly 
honor'd at Philad'a in July 1775 by your kind attention, when I had 
not an expectation of being Honored by Congress, I was informed by 
Judge Mackean on Monday evening the 17th of July, 1775, that 
haveing been proposed and spoken of by Your Excellency in the 
House I was Unanimously Honored by Congress with being elected 
as Quarter Master General to General Schuylers Army; My particu- 
lar thanks and Acknowledgement was then made to him for the 
Honor don me and that I should think myself happy in a Zealous 
Exertion, to support their partiality, and serve this My Country, to 
the best of my Abilities ; But I wished to know what Rank was given 
to Me in the Army? as t wished not for a staff Department? tho 
formerly a Quarter Master to a British Reg't for above 5 Years on 
Actual and Active Service, at Louisbourg and Quebec with Gen'l 


Wolfe, and some time did Duty as Quarter Master General, under 
Quarter Master General Irwine, with General Murray at Quebec and 
at New York in 1756 and 1757. To which I was reply ed that thay 
had not thought of any Rank; But if I would attend Congress to mor- 
row he doubted not but that would be settled agreeably; I observed, 
on the Question, what Rank I wished for? That I had not made up 
my Mind thereupon, as I expected some time before, a Regiment at 
New York; but having been offered or appointed a Major, to Col. 
McDougalls Reg't which I spurned at being myself a Commis- 
sioned Officer, on much service, and He, knowing nothing of Military 
Discipline confessedly; and then offered by Col. James Clinton to 
be his Lieu't Colonel; the Pay of the one, at 40 Dot: and the other 
at §0 Dolurs, and which I communicated to my Friends on my ar- 
rival at Philad'a the beginning of July, intending no more than to 
pass a few days at Philad'a before I would join General Washington 
at Cambridge; Your Excellency by your partial Attention, justly 
meriting the first place in my Esteem from Gratitude; I had signifyed 
the above as well as the peculiarity of the Case that had impelled 
me to decline (by the Desire of, and Offers made, to the Convention 
of New York) the kind desire of General Washington and Gen'l Lee, 
at Kingsbridge, to accompany them in the Generals Family to 
Cambridge, in June, having been acquainted in Virginia in 1762 
and with Gen'l Lee since 1755, they both approving of the principles: 
On Tuesday the 18th of July 1775, after Judge Mackean, had been 
on the Floor some time, the late Philip Livingston came out to me, 
in the Hall, in Waiting, and observed that I had reminded them that 
General Washington had not to their knowledge a Q.M.G. to his 
Army, and wished to know what I would accept of and the Rank 
that I expected or desired? Observing that he knew how tenatious 
we old British officers were of Rank: I then informed him and the 
Hon'ble House, that at the forming of A New Army the Adjutant 
General and Quarter Master General, were the two first Staff Offi- 
cers in the Departments; that as my Brother Officer of the British 
Army Gen'l Gates had been by Congress honored with the Rank of 
a Brigadier General and Adjutant General; that I hoped for the 
same Rank and Q'r M'r Gen'l. But that as the case was circum- 
stanced and that a Q:M:G. was not appointed to the Army under 
the Command of the Commander in Chief and he having wished 
me to attend him to Cambridge; I would accept of the Q: M: Gen'l 
to Gen'l Schuylers Army with the Rank of a Colonel in the Line; 
and that if Gen'l Washington had not appointed a Q. M. Gen'l that 
I should be thereto intitled, if the person acting or by him intended 
to be recommended for that station, did not accept; Mr. Livingston 
returned into the House and in a little time Mr. Thomson handed 


me a Commission as Deputy Quarter Master General with the Rank 
of a Col'l in the Army of the United Colonies: l Afterwards I dwelt 
on the hope of being yet able to be under the Eye of the Commander 
in Chief with his Army as a Principle for which I was encouraged 
to hope that none should be put over me and to write to the General 
on that subject which I did about 25th July from New York; and 
Mr. Mifflin was appointed on the 5 Aug'st by Virtue of the Resolve 
of the 19th July. (Repairing immediately to Ticonderoga paying 
no attention to any Duty as Q.M.G. in the New York Department; 
with the Rank of a Colonel and whither D.Q.M.G. or Q.M.G. having 
no Supperior and as Chief with that Army, the Pay as Q'r Master 
General must accompany it as was then understood) the entry in 
the Journals of Congress of the 17, not altered and only a Line added 
that Mr. D. Campbell have the rank of a Colonel in the Army, the 
Whole being the Stipulation of the 18th of July 1775. Certain I am 
that I firmly relyed upon it that I was to all intents and Purposes 
Quarter Master General and Colonel in the Army, whersoever and 
when my supperior Officers should order me so to act; so Gen'l 
Montgomery understood and required Me to be Field Officer of the 
Day, on Courts Martial, Councils of War etc. and at the intended 
Storm of Quebec I was ordered to attend the same, not as Q.M.G. 
only, but as a Colonel next in Rank to himself, and the Command 
of that Army devolved on Me, by his Unfortunate Death, and which 
I enjoyed for a little time. There are higher Proofs of my Assertions 
that I made the aforesaid Stipulations, and that it was so well un- 
derstood, that on the 23d Sept'r 1775, 9 Weeks thereafter, that a 
Plurality of Armies and Q:M:G. are fully and importantly declared 
in the said Resolve, when there certainly existed no other Army 
than that at Cambridge with Mr. Mifflin; and the other in Canada 
to which D: Campbell was Quarter Master General? 

These facts which I will attest and pledge my Honor as a Man 
and an Officer for the Truth of, is the grounds of some Altercation 
and doubt between Congress and some of their Officers and Me at 
this Day and for 1 2 Years, not Receiveing a shilling ! added to a Con- 
struction put upon the Resolve of Congress 13th Feb'ry 1777. by 
which I am declared to be continued in my former Pay and Rank: 
which I hope you may recollect was Passed on Gen'l Gates and Gen'l 
Schuyler reprobating the Judgement of the Gen'l Court Martial at 
Crown Point in July 1776, Packed by Arnold, and so charged in 
my Memorial 14th Oct'r 1776, with Lees Letter; But as Congress 
had unkindly anticipated the Criminality there alleged against 

1 He was appointed a deputy quarter master general for the New York De- 
partment "during the present campaign." Journals of the Continental Congress 
(Ford), 11. 186. 


Me, and had on the 12 Sept'r 1776 appointed Mr. Morgan Lewis 
to that Department; they upon Receiveing Gen'l Gates Disappro- 
bation of the Court Martial on the 12. Jan'y 1777 and that He has 
in July last disolved the said (Packed) Court-Martial, and called 
an other for tryal of several then in Arrest, and myself taken out of 
Arrest and sent to Gen'l Washington with the proceedings (perhaps 
to make room for Mr. Lewis) and the critical situation of N. York 
the Gen'l on the 12 Aug'st sent me to Congress at Philad'a with his 
Letter; the Proceedings remaining undecided upon 'till Gen: Schuy- 
ler or Gen'l Gates approved or disapproved the same as it could 
not be a Sentence, 'till that was obtained. Gen'l Gates on 12th 
Jan'ry 1777 declaring the Proceedings severe, irregular and unprec- 
edented and that I did not deserve such a Judgement, and that I 
was wanted in the Department where my presence was wished for, 
and that I had been very 111 used as by Gen'l Schuylers Letter as 
appears by the Gen'ls Letters Certified by Your Excellency at 
Baltimore; Congress, willing to continue Col. Lewis and appointing 
many more under him in a Necessary Department, and large Com- 
missions allowed of perhapse thought too Valuable for D:C: who 
should on the Acquital and Acceptance of Gen'l Gates's Disappro- 
bation, have been sent to the station he was in before the Arrest: 
But it was thought and suggested in Congress that I should be put 
on the Half Pay as a Q.M.G. when it was observed that as they had 
engaged to indemnify Col. Gridly, Col. Hazen and Gen'l Lee as 
being British Half Pay Officers entering into the American Service, 
they were in Honor bound to give me what had been stipulated for 
by others when I was also a British Half Pay Officer altho from my 
Zeal I had not made Conditions, and I haveing also declared that 
I would not serve under Juniors in the Continental Army, who had 
been promoted, particularly Arnold who was made a Col. in Sept'r 
and a Brigadier in Jan'ry folowing; it was Moved for in Congress 
in Consideration as for half Pay as Q'r M'r Gen'l and half pay In- 
demnification as a British Officer and his Zeal for the Service and 
Cause of America very early Manifested, it was Resolved, "That 
Col. Donald Campbell be Continued in his former Pay and Rank," 
not placeing Me under the Orders of the Commander in Chief, or 
Secretary at War; but subject to such Orders, as Congress Only, 
should in future think Just, and held in the Original Rank of a Col. 
in the Army and Pay as Q'r Master General at 80 Dolars per Month, 
6 Rations of Subsistence and 2 Rations of Forage and that bona 
fide and clearly from the Justice and Liberality that pervaded the 
Acts of Congress during the War and while the Country that You 
Sir very early sacrificed Your Health and Fortune to save, it, and 
a People, happy in having such a true Supporter at their Head to 


guide their Councils could never totally Discard or Manifestly ill 
use a Zealous Servant! and clearly by the aforesaid Deduction of 
the Truth and the Letter and Spirit of the Resolve of the 30th 
Sept'r 1783, viz't "that the Sec'ry at War issue to all officers in the 
Army, under the rank of Major Generals, who hold the same rank 
now that they held in the Year 1777, a Brevet Commission, one 
grade higher than their Present rank, having respect to their Senior- 
ity; " Applying to me as being within a Liberal and Just Construction 
thereof; and have for some time hoped to have been Honored, 
(altho an empty feather without any Emolument) with a Brevet as 
Brigadier General to be transmitted to me by the Sec'ry at War as 
being my Just right I shall persist in Claiming it, and was supposed 
and believed, by Gen'l Washington, when possession was taken of 
New York. 

Having been this Prolix, which I hope will be pardoned, it arrise- 
ing in part from a Wish fully to Explain the true principles and 
grounds of my Claims; and an other Cause, painfull to remember, 
by the Injury received in my Education etc. through the base Vio- 
lation of the public faith of the Servants of the British Government 
in this Province, that ruined my Family and sunk an Easy Fortune 
when We had a flatering prospect, and the Province thereby much 
benefitted: a Brief e State of the treatment will be found in page 179 
and 180. of Mr. WilPm Smiths History of New York published in 
1757. In hopes of refreshing Your recollection on the different heads 
as my patron Introducing me into the Army of this Country in 
British Regimentals and takeing the Tented field with my Zealous 
Countrymen, no Ways altered in my Principles and opposition to 
Arbitrary Claims on America, since and before the war of 1756, and 
asserting the right of this Country as the Descendents of Britons, 
contending for their Libertys: and Burying the Hatchet with 
every person who will do so with Me, since their Own King signed 
Our Independence. 

I must presume to request a Line from You Dear Sir in support 
of the foregoing facts and principles; to me Clear and in the full 
Spirit and Just Construction have conducted myself, and am assured 
the Idea of some at this Day of Allowing me 40 Dollars per Month 
is little better than filching from an individual, to put into the pock- 
ets of three Million of People, a Barley Corn, or the Value of a grain 
of Rice, and is a sum to the individual! and will not exceed 25 or 
26 Dol. per month more than my Half Pay amounted to; and my 
Zeal and Attachment at that early day would not be thought of 
or even offered to be rewarded by it, by those who know me and 
Honored me with their approbation and support : It will seem strange 
that to this day I have never received a Shilling of pay, Subsist- 


ance or but little Forage and was necessitated to leave 5000 Dol- 
lars of the Liquidated Ballance of the Contingent Expences of 1775 
and 1776 still due with its Interest since 1781 Accounting at the 
hour of being laid aside in July 1776 for every Shilling of Congri- 
tional Money or property that ever I had Rec'd or Could be charged 
with! and Exhausting my own Resourscess in my Support this 
12 Years!! 

I am Dear Sir, with sinceare Wishes for the perfect Establish- 
ment of your Health and Continuance of Life to You for the Hap- 
piness of the People and Land over which you are again and again 
justly called upon and Ellected to Administer the Blessing of an 
upright Chief Magistrate in a Land of Liberty; where may every 
Blessing and felicity attend You for a Long time to come; and here- 
after the Fruition of that happy Life, with my best respects to 
Your Lady, You will believe me to be with Gratitude, Dear Sir, 
Your Respectfull and Most Obedient and very Humble Servant, 

Donald Campbell. 

New York, 6 May 1787. 

The Editor offers the following selection of letters from a 
gift made by Dr. Loring W. Puffer, of Brockton. It relates 
chiefly to the Presidential election of 1828. 

Elijah Howard, Jr. 1 & Co. to Francis Baylies. 

E aston, December 24th, 182 1. 

Sir, — Your favor of the 8th Inst, came duly to hand. Respect- 
ing the question of the propos'd new tariff, we confess we have never 
entertain'd so sanguine expectations that the course pray'd for by 
the manufacturers would result in substantially promoting their 
interest to the extent that many have profess'd to believe it would 
do. Under the existing tariff the manufacturers have been able 
to engross nearly or quite all the domestic trade in the coarse or 
common description of cotton goods to the exclusion of foreign 
competition, and they are not now doing it at a loss to themselves, 
their manufactures affording them a fair profit. In fact we very 
much doubt whether it would be for the best interest of the manu- 
facturers to have their business better than it now is. It has 
always been our belief that it would be best for the manufacturers 
to get along with as little protection from the government as they 
possibly could do and live, for two reasons: first, they would then 
be under the less obligation to Government (and we desire to lay 
ourselves under as few obligations to any men or body of men as 

1 See Chaffin, History of Easton, 638. 


possible); second, the fewer artificial supports the manufacturing 
Interest has the more stable and permanent will be its foundation, 
and the protection afforded by Congress we consider at best precari- 
ous. The question then is, whether the manufacturers can live 
under the existing tariff? For ourselves we do believe they can not 
only live but thrive under it. When we carry our goods to market 
the purchasers do not say, "we can buy British or India goods 
cheaper than you offer yours;" the only difficulty we meet with is, 
they tell us, "your neighbor will sell his goods at a less price than 
you ask." Now as long as this is the case what benefit will accrue 
to us by having the duty on imported cotton goods rais'd to 75 
per cent? At any rate we do not wish to have it done on the prin- 
ciple of making us debtors to Government in consideration of their 
doing it. On the contrary we should rather have the duty on im- 
ported cotton goods diminished, than to have them rais'd and a 
duty or tax impos'd on domestic manufactures. 

In making the foregoing remarks we have reference particularly 
to the common descriptions of cotton goods. Of the woolen manu- 
facture we are ignorant, but we conceive the same principles must 
apply in a certain degree to manufactures of every description. We 
have no doubt but this will be a manufacturing country, and that 
the manufacturing so far from being in opposition to the agricul- 
tural and commercial Interests [must] be made conducive to both; 
but it undoubtedly requires nice calculations to give to each the just 
and proper weight and influence required to promote the greatest 
good of the whole. You, Sir, are plac'd in a situation to take a view 
of the whole which will enable you to form a more correct opinion 
than we can possibly do. We ask no exclusive favors; all we ask 
is to have the tariff so adjusted as to give to each of the great inter- 
ests of the Country its just due and no more. 

We are sir with much respect and esteem yours, etc. 

Elijah Howard Jr. & Co. 

William Coleman 1 to Francis Baylies. 

New York, June 2d, 1828. 

Dear Sir, — By permission of our mutual friend, General Wool, 
when he was here lately on his way to Massachusetts, I presume to 
address a few words to you on a subject equally interesting to us 
both in common with every honest and intelligent friend of this 
country. Judging from uniform report, I am strongly inclined to 

1 William Coleman (1 766-1829) was born in Boston, Mass., but removed to 
New York about 1794, became associated with Hamilton, and was long editor 
of the Evening Post. 



believe, vanity apart, that there is less difference of opinion be- 
tween you and me as to public men and public measures for more 
than thirty years past, than between many others who profess to 
think alike on the same subjects. But to descend to particulars 
showing why I have formed this conclusion, is not necessary at 
this time and would lead me into too extensive a field. I there- 
fore defer it for the present, taking it for granted that the conclu- 
sion is not erroneous. And if not I entertain the hope and belief 
that extensive and permanent good may, in the present critical 
state of public affairs, result from some further efforts of the same 
"ever-pointed" pen that produced the essays which appeared not 
long since in the Albany Argus entitled "The Military Chieftain, 
or The Contrast." 1 Although extensively republished, they have 
not been as much so, as they ought to have been considering their 
intrinsic merit and their powerful tendency to disabuse public 
opinion, and strip the visor off of the countenance of imposture and 
hypocrisy. But I am very glad to see by the papers published 
in different and distant parts of the United States that they are 
still acquiring a wider circulation throughout the country. And 
the circumstance of affixing to them a distinctive appellation as 
was done with the approbation of your friend, General Wool, 
will prove fortunate by immediately attracting public attention 
to whatever may appear under the same signature. Lucius Jun- 
ius, whenever he appears, will be known at a glance, and perused 
with eagerness. 

This same friend informed me last autumn that you had on hand 
a parcel of manuscript devoted to a subject well worthy of the best 
exertion of your pen, and which in good time would appear; that 
he had seen and read it and that it was in his judgment no way 
inferior to the Military Chieftain in any respect either as regards 
manner or matter. If so, then permit me to ask if the time is not 
already arrived when it should be given to [the] world without 
farther delay? This question brings me at once to the main purpose 
of this letter, namely, to ask whether the Evening Post may not 
have the distinguished honor of standing god-father to the bantling? 
But in soliciting this favor, however much the granting it would 
gratify my pride, yet, if, for any reason satisfactory to yourself, 
you should deem it more expedient that it should meet the public 
eye through some other medium, let me not be supposed to enter- 
tain a wish at variance with your own; I will republish it the first 
moment it offers itself to my view. But, whatever may be your 
decision as to the place of its first appearance, nothing in my opinion 
will more effectually tend to keep undiminished that popularity 
1 See Proceedings, xlv. 177. 


which its signature has acquired and which it is so desireable it 
should preserve, as to hold with tenacious grasp the veil of impena- 
trable secrecy over the author. For such purpose I endeavored, 
when I republished the first numbers of the Military Chieftain 
from the Argus to throw an cloud of mystery over even the quarter 
whence they originated, and the same pia fraus I shall continue to 
practice, for the same purpose. 

Since I find myself writing to you, I beg leave to say your Jackson 
editors are quite remiss in permitting to pass without contradiction 
or explanation the deceptive inference the Adams prints have been 
left to draw from the returns of the poll at the late Boston election, 
where the Adams votes outnumbered their opponents thousands to 
hundreds. Could not some leading Jacksonian paper inform those 
at a distance, that they did not on this occasion even attempt a rally; 
for I take it such was the fact. Abroad it may do some mischief 
and probably will. Your Boston Statesman contains occasionally 
some well written articles, but I think the editor, whom I never 
knew, wants liberality towards the federalists, and this cramps his 

Have you by any accident come across the editorial article which 
appeared in the Evening Post about a fortnight since on the subject 
of Governor Giles's last letter respecting the villainy of J. Q. Adams 
in accusing the purest men in the nation of plotting high treason 
against the Union? Tell me, if you have, whether you think I have 
spoken of his conduct on that occasion and of his character, in 
terms of unwarrantable acrimony? I hope you will not be of 
opinion that I have, for I feel inclined to push him much farther 
when I shall take up the Webster letter, as I mean to do shortly. 
I think him not only dishonest and profligate in his political course, 
but one of the most execrable of villains in his morals; nothing but 
opportunity and personal boldness is wanting to make him a Calig- 
ula or a Nero; and many of the most intelligent and respectable 
men think of him as I do, and as I deem it my solemn duty to ex- 
pose him to the eyes of the world. Will you not lend your aid in 
this conscientious effort to do him justice? Come forth then with- 
out further delay in such style as you may think befitting the oc- 
casion and the subject. 

When you write in answer it will be prudent to enclose it to Mr. 
Verplanck, and to take the further precaution of marking "Private" 
on the corner of the letter, in order to prevent its being opened by 
some of my partners. 

Your 's most respectfully, 

Wm. Coleman. 



Gulian C. Verplanck to Francis Baylies. 

New York, June 3d, 1828. 

My dear Sir, — Coleman of the Evening Post, who knows you well 
at second hand through Wool and myself, is desirous of a more 
direct acquaintance and requests me to forward to you the en- 
closed letter. By the aid of Bryant the Post has again taken a high 
stand, and has been this winter and will continue to be the best 
paper in the country. 1 Coleman has lost the use of his legs and from 
confinement at home is sometimes behind the temper and tone of 
the day, but his mind when roused and put on its old track, is I 
think as vigorous as ever. He will be gratified by a speedy answer. 

You have doubtless seen the Adams address which appeared in 
duplicate in Gales 2 and Peter Force 3 and was intended to keep 
up the spirits and hopes of the party. It was written by Webster, 
as you will perceive if you read it critically. I think it betrays the 
secret fears of the administration more than it can excite the hopes 
of their friends. Here all looks well. In the city we have I believe 
continued to gain in spite of all the magniloquence of the pink and 
the sneaking slanders of his correspondent. From all parts of the 
state our information is cheering. The Morgan excitement is giv- 
ing way partly to reason, partly to a reaction of honest indignation. 
We hope now to carry even the double district composed of what 
was once the old county of Ontario (Marvin's district). Van Buren 
must I think be our governor. He does not wish it, in itself, for he 
has a hankering after Washington. But he cannot refuse the nomi- 
nation and in the judgement of his best friends, the office of Gov- 
ernor of the great state is the safest road to all that his ambition 
may bid look to hereafter. 

In Kentucky we shall have a tremendous fight. Clay's men 
Letcher, Metcalf , Clark and Buckner 4 are as you know able and 
indefatigable and I am sorry to say that our new men were poor 
sticks. But then Tom Moore is a host. 5 I always thought highly 
of him, but this winter he discovered talents of the highest order 
for political warfare. Able as a political writer for popular effect, 
infallible in his judgment of character, bold, sagacious and inde- 
fatigable he wanted nothing but the power of popular eloquence 
to be one of the first men of the West. Even in that he is not 

1 Bryant had only recently become editor of the Evening Post. 

2 National Intelligencer. 

3 National Journal. The address is in the Independent Chronicle and Boston 
Patriot, June 7, 1828. 

4 Alexander Buckner of Missouri? 

5 Thomas Patrick Moore, of Virginia. 


totally deficient, for he can on occasion speak competently well 
for ordinary purposes. He has staked himself upon carrying Ken- 
tucky and is full of hope. It is not to be denied however that in 
the August election for Governor Clay has one advantage. Though 
Barry is the superior man, there is still some little feeling of the old 
state parties which may every here and there deprive him of some 
otherwise Jacksonian votes. Metcalf, on the other hand can carry 
the whole Adams vote, and his party hope something more. If 
then Barry is elected, the state is safe for Jackson by a great majority. 

Your successor Hodges x has gradually warmed up to red heat, he 
cannot talk as to the prospects of the election without losing his 
temper, which by the way is very common with all the knowing 
men of that side; [they] talk big and get angry when you doubt the 
utter prostration of your own party, especially if you can do it with 
a calm indifferent air. 

The army is still in hot water. Scott is said to assert his right to 
command Macomb and to talk about disobeying orders and trying 
the question. A piece in the Richmond Enquirer personally offen- 
sive to Macomb is also attributed to him. Our administration has 
certainly a great talent for throwing every thing into confusion. 
Let me hear from you how New England takes the tariff, etc. 
Believe me yours truly, 

G. C. Verplanck. 

Jeromus Johnson to Francis Baylies. 

New York, 1st Nov'r, 1828. 

My Dear Sir, — We have planted our hickory trees in our dif- 
ferent wards, and yesterday erected one in front of old Tammany 
and moistened the clay (not Kentucky clay) with plenty of fine old 
Jackson ale. The crowd was great during the ceremony, and in the 
evening the Hall was filld to overflowing to hear the report of the 
nominating Committee. As Noah 2 says and I believe truly, a 
very feeble effort was made by the editor of the Courier and a few 
others to disturb the harmony of the meeting ; but they were quickly 
put down, and Mr. Webb 3 out of the Hall; the resolutions were 
then put and pass'd, and the nomination as before the public agreed 
to by the meeting. Our hopes are elevated at the prospects before 
us, and brighter hours will come. 

I do not recollect the conversation between you and our friend 
Storrs 4 in Mr. Coyle's dineing room, but I well remember his 

1 James L. Hodges. 2 Mordecai Manasseh Noah. 

3 James Watson Webb. 4 Henry R. Storrs of New York. 


favourite ditty — "The Camels are comeing, the Camels are come- 
ing, hi ho, he ho." Never was there a truer prediction uttered in 
this world than the above; and I expect when we meet again at the 
Capitol his tune will be chang'd, and all those who helped out the 
chorus with him, to, "Jackson is comeing, the Capital is taken; 
Jackson is comeing, hi ho, he ho." 

My colleagues Cambreleng and Verplanck will have a strong 
opposition, on the auction question, the anti-Auction Committee 
are very hostile, and have placed at the head of their ticket, David 
B. Ogden and Thomas C. Taylor, who are also run on the Adams 
ticket: however I am inclined to think the regulars will carry the 
day, the rest of the ticket will succeed by a large majority, to wit: 
the Governor and Lieut. Governor, Electors and members of our 
State Legislature. All the division in the Jackson ranks has grown 
out of local causes, the party on the main question are united. 

Should be pleased to see you at Washington the last of the Session, 
particularly on the 4th of March to witness the scenes of that day. 
I hope Mr. Adams will be present, and not follow the fool steps of 
his father. Respects to your family. I am happy to say mine enjoy 
their usual health. 

Yours truly, 

Jeromus Johnson. 1 

New York will return 26 Electoral votes. 

John McKee to Francis Baylies. 

Washington, Nov. 17th, 1828. 

Dear Sir, — I received your friendly letter of May last not long 
before I set out for home and in the bustle of preparation for my 
journey I neglected to answer it. And lately I have deferred it till 
I could say with certainty that Jackson is elected President. The 
Ebonyites are routed to the West, Horse foot and Dragoons, Cos- 
sacs, Tartars and Mamalukes. Brent 2 says they could have borne 
a moderate beating, but this is such a damnable expression of the 
public will that there is no denying or resisting it. I saw the old 
General as I came on, he was in high health and spirits. 

It would do you good to see the change in some countenances 
that last winter were bright with the hope of success now as long 
as my arm. There are some half dozen members of Congress in 
the city, most of them have been here during the Summer. When 
we meet I will endeavor to muster industry enough to atone for 

1 Member of Congress from the city of New York. 

2 William L. Brent, member of Congress from Maryland. 


my past neglect, unless you should follow the wild geese, and give 
me and your friends here the pleasure of taking you by the hand. 
Present my respects to Mrs. B. 

Dear Sir, Your friend, 

John McKee. 1 

John E. Wool to Francis Baylies. 

Washington City, 7th December, 1828. 

My dear Baylies, — Speculations on the subject of the next 
Cabinet are as plenty as pigeons after harvest. As to who will 
compose the next Cabinet no person but Jackson at this time can 
tell. It is thought, however, by many that Van Buren will be of- 
fered the appointment of Secretary of State. This opinion I believe 
is prevalent among the Western members. The members of South 
Carolina, North Carolina, and part of those from Virginia, will no 
doubt oppose his appointment. I can have no objections to his 
appointment, but I have great objections to the course adopted 
by his friends in bringing forward Woodbury to the exclusion of 
yourself as the most prominent man in the East. Aside from this 
you have the West and South in your favour for any appointment 
you would desire. McKee told me this morning if he knew Jackson, 
and he thought he did, he would give you any thing your friends 
would suggest. His own opinion, however, was, unless you were 
rich, that the best appointment for you would be the Collectorship 
of Boston, which he had no doubt would be given to you if you 
would take it. As I have before said to know how to act for you, 
your friends must know what you would wish. Let your Boston 
friends manage for themselves, and you take care of yourself. I 
would not do any thing to offend their feelings, nor would I permit 
them to appropriate all the offices to their benefit, which you can 
control at Washington without doubt, and without their knowledge . 
Woodbury will not be taken from the Senate. The struggle for the 
Cabinet will be between Calhoun and Van Buren. Both will con- 
tend for the appointment of their friends, and I trust both will fail. 
Jackson will make a Cabinet of his own, without reference to the 
interest of either. An effort, however, will be made to disappoint 
both, and Jackson will be urged not (at this time) to decline a re- 
election. His friends in Tennessee say he must continue eight years, 
and whoever goes into his Cabinet, must go with the expectation 
that he is to be re-elected. To conclude this subject, I have only 

1 Member of Congress from Alabama. The reply to this letter is in Proceed- 
ings, xlv. 167, where the person to whom it was addressed could not be identified. 


to observe that all your friends say you must be at Washington 
before the 4th March next. I say so too. 

It is reported that Clay intends to go to Kentucky and prepare 
for the next campaign. He will declare himself a candidate for the 
Presidency and commence operations immediately. He dined 
yesterday with the Secretary at War. 1 The Tariff, in other words 
the American System, was the topick of conversation, when Galla- 
tin, who was present, remarked that he thought they had carried 
the system already too far. Clay replied, that "any opinion of his 
on that subject," and I believe he added, "or any other," "would 
never influence him or change his opinion." This was the substance 
of the reply if not his words, so I was informed by Governor Cass. 
But as Cass represented the conversation there was more in the 
manner of Clay than in his words, and it produced such an effect 
upon G[allatin] that he did not speak again for half an hour or more. 
Clay's friends do not spare Mr. Adams. They curse him on all 
occasions, and without mercy. I pity Adams; he is indeed to be 
pitied, for no man was ever surrounded by such friends. They are 
ungrateful in the extreme. Clay undoubtedly controled almost 
every appointment from the highest to the lowest. Mr. Adams may 
say with propriety and truth, "save me from my friends," for he 
has more to fear from them than his enemies. Mr. Adams will not 
leave Washington. He has taken Commodore Porter's house and 
intends to make this his future residence. 

Present me to Mrs. B. and M., and believe me, devotedly yours, 

John E. Wool. 

P. S. I shall leave the city in the course of the week for the South. 
Let your next be directed to Charleston, South Carolina. I shall 
be absent from six to eight weeks. I shall expect to meet you in 
the Great City on my return. 


Francis Baylies to . 

[April, 1829.] 

My dear Sir, — I think the outset of the present Administration 
has been injudicious. It was the fond hope of the disinterested and 
elevated portion of the Jackson party that he would have brought 
the highest talent of his party (at least) into the service of the nation, 
that it would be impossible to make him the dupe of petty intriguers 
and minor politicians, and that his course would be independent 
and lofty. 

Had the disposition of the high offices been left to me, with an 

1 Peter B. Porter. 

1913.] president's cabinet, 1829. 329 

injunction to take the whole from the Jackson party, this would 
have been my selection. Littleton W. Taswell [Tazewell], Secretary 
of State. My reasons are these: 

Mr. Taswell has applied himself with much assiduity to the study 
of national law and the relations of trade. His extensive practice 
in the U. S. courts, and even his office as a Commissioner on Spanish 
Claims, had given him that kind of knowledge most useful in the 
Department of State. For all the questions which now come into 
that Department requiring foreign negotiation, with the exception 
of disputed boundaries, are questions touching trade, and in time 
of European wars, the rights of neutrals, and those rights for the 
most part involving such questions alone, as blockades, restrictions, 
interdictions, etc. He is also well versed in what may be called the 
domestic business of his office such as the law of patents, etc., and 
from living in a commercial place, he certainly possesses more knowl- 
edge respecting suitable persons to fill consulates, etc., than Mr. 
Van Buren. I should doubt him most in selecting foreign ministers, 
and should fear that he could not find much capacity for such sta- 
tions out of old Virginia, and that he would not sufficiently discrim- 
inate between a Virginian of the metaphysical school and a strong 
clear headed practical man of business; but yet under all the cir- 
cumstances and after rejecting local influences, and state pride, and 
state intrigues, regarding only the great interests of the country, 
my preference was decidedly for him. 

I would have selected Mr. Cheves 1 for Secretary of the Treasury 
and for these reasons: 

1 st. His standing in the nation is a[s] high as that of any one, 
having held what I think the second place, viz. Speaker of the H. R. 

2d. His great integrity evidenced by his fearless conduct in ex- 
posing the frauds practiced in the U. S. Bank, without regard to 
high names and political influence. 

3d. His acquaintance with finance which must practically be very 
great, having been for several years President of the U. S. Bank, 
where as much financial skill is required as is now required in manag- 
ing the Treasury Department. 

4th. The general confidence of the Nation in his integrity, which 
in difficult times would give him a commanding influence over the 
capitalists of the Nation. 

The War Department I would have placed in the hands of Colonel 
Drayton, 2 because he is a practical military man; because his talents 
are far above the tame mediocrity of Major Eaton; because his in- 
dustry is great; because he is a most accomplished gentleman, and 
has learned his notions in the school of chivalry which would always 

1 Langdon Cheves. 2 William Drayton. 



render him an acceptable umpire in the fierce disputes of fiery but 
honorable men, and many such are in our army; and because General 
Jackson would have been consistent with himself, he having recom- 
mended Colonel Drayton in the strongest terms for the same ofhce 
to Colonel Monroe. 1 

[To Mr. Van Buren I should have given the Navy, and for this 
reason. In the first place there are no state papers to compose, 
and in the second place there is but little to do. The character of 
V. B. is totally misunderstood; he is thought to be a restless and 
persevering man, whose industry has no bounds, but it is not so. 
Mr. V. B. is an indolent man and the strong stimulus of ambition 
will hardly compel him to exertion. It requires an effort to bring 
him forth, but yet he is shrewd and sagacious and, let others fur- 
nish him the materials on which his opinions are to be founded, he 
would generally be right. Those would be furnished by the Com- 
missioners and then Mr. Van Buren would seldom err. The State 
Department to him will be a place of torment; and now mark my 
prediction, instead of illustrating himself in his office if the least 
difficulty occurs, he sinks in public estimation, and when he begins 
to fall he falls forever. I hope I am mistaken, for personally I have 
more regard for him than either of the others, and would as soon see 
him elevated as any man in the nation. And I even fear my own 
prophecy, for I am beginning to wonder at the verification of my 
predictions; but in the Navy Department he would grow in the 
public estimation until perhaps by great and severe study, if he was 
ambitious, he might thoroughly prepare himself for a higher place. 
I have strong fears. I hope he will sustain himself but I cannot help 

The office of Attorney General has been bestowed on the right 
man, 2 a man in my opinion of fine talents and gentlemanly bearing. 
If he would discard some of his chains and trinkets, I should like 
him better; but he is certainly competent to his place and will sus- 
tain himself with honour. A fine speaker and a sound lawyer, I 
know nothing to be urged against this appointment. 

The Post Office is certainly a more proper place for Mr. Ingham 
than the Treasury. I know him well, he is a dull, plodding, sensi- 
ble man, without one particle of genius, but accurate in detail; and 
of unwearied industry, systematic and methodical, he would with 
the advantage of exact system established by Judge McLean have 
managed the Department excellently well, better, far better, I 
think, than Mr. Barry, a man of genius and eloquence, but without 
management or system, embarrassed in his circumstances, loose in 

1 Parton, Life of Andrew Jackson, n. 358. 

2 John M. Berrien. 

1913.] FOREIGN MINISTERS, 1829. 33 1 

his mode of business, well fitted for higher stations, but having 
certainly but few recommendations for this. 

And now with respect to the foreign ministers. As Mr. Taswell 
has not received the State Department, he is certainly the best 
selection I think that could be made for England, and that for 
reasons which I have already given. Although eccentric both in 
appearance and manners, he is certainly a finished gentleman, and 
John Bull you know delights in originality. Had Mr. Taswell been 
placed in the Department of State, I would have sent Louis Mc- 
Lane to England. 1 His talents certainly are of a high order. In 
the H. of R. no man could compete so successfully with Webster 
as Mr. McLane. He is well acquainted with national Law, as his 
Panama speech amply testifies. He is correct, conciliating and 
spirited; he would give no insult, and he would receive none. More- 
over he is a Federalist, and that is a circumstance in his favor. In 
the settlement of our difficulties with G. B. much depends on good 
will, and you well know that the Federalists labour under the stigma 
of British partialities. Therefore the presumption is that his po- 
litical character at home would do him no discredit at the British 
Court. The policy of his selection would be somewhat similar to 
that of Washington when he selected James Monroe for France, 
not because he was a supporter of his administration, but because 
he belonged to a party which cherished strong partiality for France. 

To France I would have sent Colonel Hayne 2 of S. C. His real 
talent, spirit, vivacity, courteous manners and fortune, would 
make him as proper a representative of the American Republic at 
that court as any man in America; and in all the requisites of a 
minister there he is in my opinion far superior to Mr. Baldwin, 3 and 
yet Mr. Baldwin might do very well in Spain to which court I would 
have sent him and not to France. 4 

Mr. Rives, 5 whom I think as the second only to Taswell in Vir- 
ginia, I would have sent to Russia; at that court with his beauti- 
ful wife he would have done credit to his country and fully sustained 
the American name. 6 

To Holland I would have sent a New York Dutchman say Cam- 

1 McLane received the appointment, and was minister from April 18, 1829, 
to June 17, 1831. 

2 Robert Young Hayne. 

3 Henry Baldwin, of Pennsylvania. 

4 The French mission went to William C. Rives, and Cornelius P. Van Ness 
received the Spanish appointment. 

5 William Cabell Rives. 

6 The Russian mission was retained by Henry Middleton, until September, 
1830, when John Randolph Clay became charge. John Randolph had been ap- 
pointed May 26, 1830. 


breleng or Verplanck. The first certainly has much commercial 
knowledge, and our relations with the Dutch at present are alto- 
gether commercial and very slightly political. As a commercial 
minister Cambreleng is to be preferred; as a politician Verplanck; 
besides the latter has the advantage of being a fine scholar, and at 
Brussells he would meet many influential men of the court to whom 
his scholarship would have recommended him. 1 

As to the Spanish American nations the selection of Colonel 
Benton for Mexico is unquestionably judicious. He is the very 
man to go there, his knowledge of the Spanish language, the com- 
mercial connections already growing up between Mexico and the 
States contiguous on the west bank of the Mississippi, and his 
thorough acquaintance with those interests, his great industry and 
his strong attachment to the studies of nature, would lead him to 
make many investigations into the capabilities and productions of 
the Mexican Republic, the mines, etc., and the facilities for trade, 
which prove of great service to our nation. 2 

Instead of Tom Moore, who is certainly not fitted for any higher 
station than that of a charge to Guatamala, or Peru, I would have 
sent Major Barry. 3 In those wild countries an irregular genius like 
his might produce far greater effect than a mind coldly correct, 
and fashioned on the pedantic model of European diplomacy. 
Revolutions will often occur there which will derange the system of 
a mere statesman by rule, and give scope to the exertions of minds 
which, without any touch of discipline, can profit by a crisis which 
would be neglected by one who, bred in the school of form and 
fashioned by books, could never be made to understand the motives 
of those who are still halting on the verge of civilization and regular 

Thus you see, Sir, [for] these high offices I would have taken most 
of those whom Jackson has taken; but I think he has misplaced 
them and that is the difficulty. 

He has taken, 

Van Buren 





Benton, and 


I would also have taken them 
but I would with the exception 
of Berrien and Benton have ar- 
ranged them differently. 

1 It went to William P. Preble. 

2 Joel R. Poinsett, appointed in 1825, remained in office until December 25, 
1829. Anthony Butler, of Mississippi, was charge from 1829 to 1836^ 

3 Moore had been appointed minister to United States of Colombia. 

IQI3-] FOREIGN MINISTERS, 1829. 2>2>2> 

He has taken, instead I would have taken, 

Eaton Cheves 

Branch Drayton 

Floyd Louis McLane 

Woodbury Rives 

T. P. Moore Cambreleng and Hayne 
And I think there can be no comparison as to talent and worth 
between those whom he has taken, and those whom he has omitted 
to take. Eaton and Branch are two of the most inferior men in 
the Senate, and that station is far above their grade of talent and 
they certainly gain nothing by being placed in comparison with 
Cheves and Drayton. Floyd, Woodbury and Moore, are not to be 
named on the same day with L. McLane, Rives, Cambreleng and 

Eaton and Branch I should have left to their senatorial labours. 
Floyd should have been governor of Florida, with the reversion of 
Oregon. Woodbury would do for a charge to Sweden, and Moore 
for a charge to Guatemala. 

If Verplanck had been sent to Holland, I would have sent Cam- 
breleng to Buenos Ayres, with the rank of minister if necessary. 

I would endeavour to revive our commercial relations with 
Portugal. The trade with Portugal was once the best trade we had. 
To that Court I would send William Hunter of Rhode Island. 

We have heavy claims on Naples; thither would I send Major 
Hamilton of South Carolina. 1 

Our claims on France demand a special commission of three, one 
of whom should have been my minister, Colonel Hayne; the others, 
the Hon. James Lloyd, because he is a thorough Merchant and 
understands the subject, and the other [unfinished.] 

Our Northwest boundary requires a special Commissioner to 
Great Britain. That boundary must be settled, or we must have 
war, or we must give up. It is worth an effort. Does any one 
understand that subject better than myself? 

To Rio I would send George Dallas of Philadelphia. 

To Peru, I would send [unfinished.] 

John E. Wool to Francis Baylies. 

Nassau, N. Y., 10th Nov., 1829. 

My friend Baylies, — I call you my friend. You must know 

I was thrown upon the world at 1 2 years of age without fortune or 

friends. From that time until the present I have been my own 

master. At fourteen I formed an acquaintance with R. M 2 

James Hamilton. 2 Moncton? Wool married Sarah Moncton. 


which ripened into mutual esteem and friendship. He was a person 
of wit, great reading and full of anecdote. Besides, he was honest, 
and of all the men I ever knew he was the most free from meanness 
and illiberality. In short he was a man of noble character and of 
noble feelings. My leisure moments were passed in his society, 
and I can say with truth I never left him but with regret. If I 
am indebted to any mortal being for my present standing in society 
it is to my early and first friend, for it was he that first animated me 
with hope and incited my desires. He first made the impression, 
which roused my energies, and stimulated me to exertion. When 
his generous and noble spirit took its flight to another world I could 
have said with as much truth as a celebrated ancient did that I had 
lost my second self, for I lost the man into whose heart I could com- 
mit my own with perfect confidence and security. Many years 
passed away before I could become reconciled to the loss of my 
friend, and then it was only after I had formed an acquaintance 
with yourself, whose society I have enjoyed more than any other 
individual since the death of him to whom I have alluded. Let me 
then consider you as my friend, for I am most certainly yours. If 
you agree to my proposition, write me and write me often, for your 
letters delight and instruct me. 

Present me most kindly to Mrs. Baylies and Miss Harriet, as 
well as Mrs. Wool, who sends her love to you, and accept the as- 
surance that I am yours most truly. Write to me at Richmond. 

John E. Wool. 

P. S. We have not heard a word from you since we left Taunton. 
I shall leave this on Friday with General Gansevort 1 and Cros- 
well 2 for Richmond. We shall stop one day in New York and one 
day in Washington on our way. Mrs. Wool says you must write 
to her. Address your letter to me. 

John E. Wool to Francis Baylies. 

Baltimore, 8 December, 1829. 

My dear Baylies, — You will observe that I have left Wash- 
ington. In my last I closed my letter before I had finished my 
story in consequence of two gentlemen calling unexpected to see me. 
I said I had doubts whether the Administration would consent to 
my making a tour of inspection in Europe. I have since been told 
that all are in favour of it, and, especially, as they think it would 
be gratifying to you. This is all very well, and if true is much 
better than I had apprehended. I have also been told that the 
1 Peter Gansevoort. 2 Edwin Croswell. 


President has not only a very high opinion of me, but considers me 
an honour to the service. I have seen many of your friends who have 
all enquired after you, and regret very much that you should have 
been treated so badly by the administration. Among others I saw 
Judge Smith, who desired me to present his respects to you, and 
"to say that in declining the office offered to you, you had con- 
ducted as he anticipated and for which you have his thanks. He 
further said that it was a contemptible offer and one which the 
administration ought to have been ashamed of." 

Before the present session is at end you will, if I do not greatly 
mistake, see trouble in the camp. New parties will be formed in 
the Jackson ranks. Calhoun will endeavor to bring out his friends, 
and to give a tone to public opinion. McClean will do the same. 
The Secretary of State by his address, and attentions to Madame 
[Eaton], Barry and the President, will undoubtedly give Calhoun 
and McClean [McLane] much trouble, and at the same time create 
much uneasiness among their friends. I assure you the little fellow 
is managing with great address, and making friends on all sides. 

I have read the President's message and in general I think well 
of it. But he has touched on several subjects which undoubtedly 
will produce much interest if not excitement. It is said that his 
remarks on the subject of the United States Bank has already 
lessened the price of the stock. I think he has got over the tariff 
remarkably well. I am opposed to all amendments to the constitu- 
tion, except limiting the election of President to one term. As to 
the distribution of the surplus funds of the United States as pro- 
posed, I think it would be serious to the Government. In five years 
after the distribution should take place almost every member of 
the House of representatives would be elected with reference to an 
increase of that fund. We should pull down army, navy, and in- 
deed all the institutions of the country, in order to increase the 
fund. It will never do. It will be the first step in the destruction 
of our republican Government. 

Present me most kindly to Mrs. and Miss Baylies, and accept 
for yourself all you could wish. t^ 

P. S. Give me your opinion of the message and particularly 
that part which alludes to the United States Bank. 


Gulian C. Verplanck to Francis Baylies. 

Washington, Deer. 10th, 1829. 

My dear Sir, — Expecting and hoping to see you in New York 
as you gave me reason to hope, I did not answer your last letter 


which must be now nearly six weeks old. I believe most of the 
pamphlets, etc., you wish may be found in New York, but how to 
send you large volumes of newspapers, journals, etc., I cannot tell, 
especially those of them which belong to public bodies. But what 
would add more value, infinitely more, to your work would be the 
living information you could still gain at New York. Of the trans- 
actions of our revolutionary committees, etc., prior to 1776, Colonel 
Willett * is by far the best authority and though infirm is still able to 
talk on those matters. Major Fairlie 2 has many vivid reminiscences 
of Hamilton which his sprightly and graphic manner make doubly 
valuable. Old Comfort Sands of Hoboken is the surviving member 
of our colonial Congress and City revolutionary Committee of 
Safety, and he is still hale and vigorous at the age of 84. Colonel 
Fish 3 is the best authority probably for Hamilton's military and 
early official career as Judge Hoffman is by far the best, of his pro- 
fessional character and his later politics. A few hours talk with 
these gentlemen, especially Fairlie and Hoffman, would give you a 
minuteness and distinctness of knowledge of Hamilton which is 
worth all. you could get from documents and letters. Old Judge 
Benson, 4 garrulous as he is, would also add valuable information 
of the same kind, and you certainly must not think of finishing the 
life from his leaving the Treasury to his death, that is, all his legal 
and much of his political life, without having recourse to the living 
sources of biography. 

If you should visit New York during my absence I will give 
you some letters which would lead you to this information and 

I read the political part of your letter to Davis 5 of S. C, who is 
very intimate at the White House. He was much struck with it 
and swears that I must give him an extract (without name of course) 
which he will put in old Hickory's hands, who he says will like it 
and perhaps profit by it. I will think of the matter. In the mean 
while every mail brings us some pamphlet, tract or paper in rela- 
tion to your Massachusetts quarrels, none of which I read. 

I have no time at this moment to go into the news of the Capital, 
and indeed my immediate motive for writing was to impress upon 
you the necessity of giving life and animation to your general con- 
ception of your hero, by going to still living testimony. I add to 
the above list, Ambrose Spencer and old Van Vechten of Albany. 
In haste yours truly, 

G. C. V. 

1 Marinus Willett. 2 James Fairlie, aid to Baron Steuben. 

3 Nicholas Fish. 4 Egbert Benson. 

5 Warren R. Davis. 

1913.] president's nominations, 1830. 337 

S. H. Jenks to Francis Baylies. 

Washington, Jan. 7, 1830. 

Dear Sir, — You will doubtless be much gratified on learning 
that the Hon. Henry Baldwin of Pittsburgh has been nominated 
to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Judge Washington, 1 
and that his nomination has been confirmed by the Senate almost 
unanimously, the ballots being 40 to 2. This result, after an atro- 
cious attack by the editor of the Telegraph, only six days prior to the 
nomination, argues much for the coming triumph of correct prin- 
ciples over deceit and impudent dictation. On Wednesday of last 
week, Duff Green published a long tirade of a column and a half 
against the character of Mr. Baldwin, wherein he called him "dis- 
appointed," " secretly combined with Clay," "artful," "decep- 
tive," "to be ranked hereafter as he has long been in reality, among 
the most bitter personal revilers and political opponents of General 
Jackson," "mounted on the same hobby with Clay," "of immoral 
private character," "traitor," "deserter," "spy in our camp," 
"base and unprincipled." 

After this wholesale denunciation, the people here who believe 
in Duff Green's controul over the Executive considered Mr. Bald- 
win as absolutely hors du combat, and his subsequent nomination 
by the President has operated like an electric shock. I confess 
myself to have been as much surprised as delighted. The signal 
rebuke thus given by the President to this arrogant dictator, must 
inspire new hopes in those who are the real friends of the adminis- 
tration, and I shall not be astonished if a new era should be about 
opening upon those who have been so unjustly "cast into outer 
darkness" through the management of the H[ensha]w party in 
Boston. 2 

To-day, I understand, the president has sent in the nomination 
of Gen. M'Niel 3 to be Surveyor of the port of Boston, vice Gerry 
removed. If this report be correct, it is another evidence against 
the usurpers, who had strenuously recommended for that place a 
creature of H[ensha]w, ycleped John B. Derby of Dedham. 
With great respect your friend, 

S. H. Jenks. 

P. S. Mr. L. W[oodbury] of N. B. is very busy here with J. K. 
Simpson, and appears to be particularly terrified since Baldwin's 
appointment. He is now very earnest in his devoirs to members 
of all parties. 

1 Bushrod Washington (1 762-1829). 

2 See the series of letters from Baylies against David Henshaw, collector of 
the port of Boston, in Proceedings, xlv. 174. 

3 John McNiel (1784-1850). 



Mr. Webster will oppose the Boston and other appointments 
made in the recess to supply vacancies occasioned by removals, 
and on constitutional grounds. Henshaw's nomination has not yet 
gone to the Senate. Were it to go now, it would not pass. The 
Virginia Senators are still absent. 

John C. Hamilton to Francis Baylies. 

New York, April 6th, 1830. 

Dear Sir, — On referring to the correspondence which has passed 
between us I confess that I am at a loss to discover any thing which 
could give rise to the impression entertained by you, that any sus- 
picion of an unbecoming motive was indulged by me. A disavowal 
of that which is not justly imputable to me cannot surely be 

In the proceeds of the work * I cannot participate; but entrusted 
with a duty, I have sought heretofore only, as I now do, to have a 
definitive understanding on the subject, and 't was to preclude any 
misunderstanding either present or future that I deemed it most 
fitting to say, let the work be suspended, until a final arrangement 
shall have been made. 

Assurances of a prospective nature are rarely of much value, and 
it is therefore perhaps unnecessary to repeat what I have so often 
stated, that it will be my desire to cultivate with you the most 
manly frank and friendly relations. 

I am with much regard yours, etc. etc., 

John C. Hamilton. 

Elizabeth Hamilton to Francis Baylies. 

My friend, — Some few Weeks ago, at my request, my son 
wrote to you requesting to be informed of the progress of the biog- 
raphy of my beloved Husband. It is a subject extreemly interest- 
ing to me (particularly at my time of life), and as a critical examina- 
tion of the work with its printing will nessesarily consume a con- 
siderable time, I am very solicitous to know the progress of it. 
Permit me to request an early answer: With great consideration, 

Eliz th Hamilton. 
Grange, March 2 2d, 1831. 

Remarks were made during the meeting by Messrs. San- 
born, W. Warren, Davis, Bowditch, Stanwood, Rhodes, 
Green, T. L. Livermore, Higginson, and Rantotjl. 

1 A life of Alexander Hamilton, which was never begun by Baylies, though 
he appears to have been engaged for it by the Hamilton family. 



THE stated meeting was held on Thursday, the 13th instant, 
at three o'clock, p. m. ; the President, Mr. Adams, in 
the chair. 

The record of the last meeting was read and approved; and 
the Librarian read the list of donors to the Library during the 
last month. ■ 

The Cabinet-Keeper reported the receipt of a gift, from the 
Club of Odd Volumes, of an engraving by Sidney L. Smith of 
one of Christian Remick's water color representations of the 
English ships in Boston Harbor at the time of the landing of 
the regiments in 1768, taken from the end of Long Wharf. 
The original, made for Governor John Hancock, is owned by 
the Club. He also reported a gift, from Dr. Storer, of a num- 
ber of engravings of distinguished men; and exhibited a copy 
of the Opelousas Courier, of April 22, 1863, printed on wall 
paper, the first issue after the capture of the town by the Union 
troops, owned by Roland Gray, who was present as a guest of 
the Society. 

The President reported for the Council that a note had 
been received from his brother, Mr. Henry Adams, an Honorary 
Member (1899), expressing his purpose to give to the Society 
the family collection of medals, coins, etc., begun by John 
Quincy Adams, and continued, and greatly enlarged, by 
Mr. Henry Adams' father, Charles Francis Adams, formerly 
a member of the Society (1841-1886), and its Vice-President 
( 1 869-1881). The President, in making the communica- 
tion, said that it was the desire of Mr. Henry Adams, as 
also of the other members of the Adams family, that this 
collection should pass into the ownership of the Society with 
a view to its preservation intact, so far as such preservation 
might be conveniently practicable. He did not, however, un- 
derstand that any formal conditions would be imposed with 
the gift. Wherever duplicate medals or coins compose part of 


it, which can be exchanged for others not dissimilar in charac- 
ter which would render the numismatic collection of the Society 
more complete, so doing, as he understood it, will be within the 
province of the Society. 

The Council, in view of the statement, had voted as 

Voted, That the Council, on behalf of the Society, accepts with 
gratitude the valuable and interesting gift offered by Mr. Henry 
Adams; and that Mr. Adams be requested to forward, at his 
early convenience, the collection in question to the Keeper of 
the Cabinet, who is instructed to acknowledge the receipt of the 

Voted, That Dr. Storer, the Curator of the Society's numismatical 
collection, be requested to report upon this gift at as early a date as 
may be convenient; and that the present vote of the Council be now 
reported to the Society for incorporation in its Proceedings. 

Voted, That hereafter any report which the Curator of Medals 
and Coins may make on this collection be communicated to the 
Society through the Cabinet-Keeper for the purpose of incorporat- 
ing it, as matter of record, in its printed Proceedings. 

The Corresponding Secretary reported the receipt of an 
invitation to attend the dedication of the new building of the 
New England Historic Genealogical Society, on March 18, and 
that Mr. Stanwood had been appointed to represent the So- 
ciety on that occasion. 

The Editor reported the receipt of a gift, from William K. 
Bixby, of St. Louis, of seven Jefferson papers; and of a letter 
by David Thomas, 1789, on federalism, from Clarence S. 
Brigham. He also exhibited, by the courtesy of George R. 
Barrett, a caricature, "Copenhagen Monster Muzzled," issued 
in New York, December, 1809, and gave a possible explanation 
of the meaning of the picture in connection with the oppression 
of neutral trade at that time and the mission to Russia of John 
Quincy Adams. 

The President reported the appointment by the Council 
of the following Committees, in preparation for the Annual 
Meeting in April: 

To nominate Officers for the ensuing year, 

Messrs. Frederic Winthrop, J. Collins Warren, and 
Henry M. Lovering. 

1913J LETTERS OF GEORGE SUMNER, 1837-1844. 341 

To examine the Treasurer's accounts, 

Messrs. Harold Murdock and Henry H. Edes. 
To examine the Library and Cabinet, 

Messrs. Edwin F. Gay, Henry E. Woods, and Justin 
H. Smith. 

On account of pressure of business, Mr. Woods declined to 
serve, and Lindsay Swift was appointed in his place. 

Governor Long suggested the advisability of fixing an earlier 
hour of meeting of the Society, and the matter was referred to 
the Council. 

Mr. Stanwood gave a characterization of the late James M. 
Bugbee, a member of this Society, and submitted a memoir 
which he had been appointed to prepare. 

Mr. Thayer read a paper prepared by Mr. Bradford en- 
titled ''Portrait of Alexander H. Stephens." 

Letters of George Sumner. 

The following letters were presented to the Society by Mr. 
Charles S. Hamlin {Proceedings, xlv. 415). George Sumner, 
a younger brother of Charles, was born February 5, 181 7, and 
died October 6, 1863. He travelled in Europe from 1838 to 
1852, writing much for American periodicals and newspapers. 
In November, 1859, he was elected a Resident Member of this 

To Henry Sumner. 

Washington, Sept. 25th, 1837. 

Dear Henry, — Here I am in the great Menagerie, the big Na- 
tional show-shop, and here I yesterday rec'd a letter from you. I 
got here on Thursday night in canal-boat from Harper's Ferry, at 
which place I saw your name on the Hotel books. Considerable 
humbug in that description of Jeffersons. Guess he never went to the 
White Mountains and saw the Saco come tumbling down thro' the 
Notch. The Armory and Arsenal at Harper's Ferry are well worth 
seeing, and fully repaid me for the additional two days which my 
visit to the Ferry took. 10,000 muskets and 3000 carbines are made 
during the year. The superintendent, Colonel Lucas, scraped my 
acquaintance — showed me everything, etc., etc. 

I suppose you wonder how I got to Harper's Ferry before going to 
Washington — rather a twisting way, to be sure. From Buffalo I 


went down Lake Erie to Erie, broke engine, storm on lake, breakers 
on lee shore, sea-sickness, old Harry to pay, water over deck, got 
into Erie, stage gone, waited over night, started next morning for 
Pittsburg over a miserable road — "horrible most horrible." For 
two days and two nights was my body exposed to the thumps of this 
horrid road, and when I got to Pittsburg (after having broken down 
twice, and got out three times during one night and broken down rail 
fences to pry the coach out of the mud) my body was a perfect 
jelly — without one sound spot upon it, too tired to stand, too sore 
to sit. From Pittsburg I struck off South to the National Road at 
Washington, Penn., and on that, over the Alleghany Mountains to 
Frederick. From Frederick to Harper's Ferry by railroad, thence to 
Washington by canal. 

The day after getting here, I saw Mr. F. and he insisted on my 
going to his house. I could not refuse and have passed the time 
very pleasantly with him and his lady. She is a very intelligent, 
fine woman. They both wish to be remembered to you, and F. 
says that he has been so pressed by business, the issuing of Canal 
Company notes (shin plasters), that he has had scarcely a minute 
during the summer to himself to write. Mrs. F. makes apologies 
for not writing, though she wishes you not to fail in your correspond- 
ence on that account. Give them a letter bye and bye. You talk 
about ambrosia — pumkin pie. You ought to have tasted the article 
that I did the other day — peach and milk. The peaches peeled 
and quartered and sprinkled with sugar, then set by an hour or two, 
and finally eaten with milk or cream. It is true blue, equal to straw- 
berries and cream — the most delicious dish on earth — any day. 
I went on Sunday with F. to the George Town College, and found 
the boys playing Colly-ball and kicking foot-ball. Tell it not in 
Gath! Publish it not in steady habits Connecticut! ' 

I shall leave here I think on Thursday or Friday, which will 
make my stay in the place about a week. I yesterday called on Mr. 
Secretary Woodbury, to whom I had a letter of introduction (com- 
plimentary to the last extreme) from Charles G. Greene, Morning 
Post. They are as thick as hasty-pudding together. Woodbury 
received me very politely, but he was evidently ill at ease; in fact, 
he is considered as having the most awkward situation to stand in, 
of any at Washington. He introduced me to the Head Clerk of the 
Department, who showed me the machinery of the office, mode of 
keeping accounts, etc., etc., and finally one of Uncle Sam's big ledgers. 
It was a caution, as Dr. Whittle says, to see the accounts in this. 
The Cherokee tribe, for instance, charged with cash $300,000; and 

1 Henry Sumner was then at Suffield, Connecticut. 

I9I3-] LETTERS OF GEORGE SUMNER, 1837-1844. 343 

then again another charge in one lump of $5,000,000, put down in the 
same manner with your entries in Johnny B's. books. Woodbury 
invited me to his house; think I shall call. Was with him about 
eight minutes. It is not every one that gets access to the big man. 
Those who call, have to wait in an ante-room sometimes for an hour. 
I stopped there one minute only, sent up my letter, and the order 
to the runner was, show him up. 

Last evening I carried Tilly to the Theatre, to see Yankee Hill — 
the darned etarnal Yankee. Hill was most all-fired cute, to use his 
own words, but the acting of others was miserable. In fact, I have 
seen no theatres like those of Boston, nothing like Boston notions. 
The old Athens is at least one hundred years before the rest of the 
country. It is true there are bigots there, but I believe it is better 
to have the whole community tolerably strait, than to have the two 
extremes as they are met with here. I have seen at George Town in 
a Methodist Church the afectation (among a hundred) of enough 
religion for the whole country. Such a scene of howling, screeching, 
swearing, yelling, blasphemy and everything else, I never looked 
upon, and never desire to again ; unless perhaps my feelings of mirth 
should grow stronger than my feelings of indignation at the abom- 
inable imposition practised on the poor victims at these places. 

Clay spoke in Senate yesterday; did not hear him. It is rather 
tedious listening to debates. You don't hear half, and the half that 
you do hear, comes, "either as a hurried gush, or not at all." The 
debates, as they are reported in the Washington papers next morn- 
ing are infinitely more interesting. It is not probable that much 
will be done this session. Matty 1 is sorry that he called Congress to- 
gether, there is no doubt. The bill for making postmasters and 
others depositories for public money will hardly go. A sort of test- 
vote for a National Bank was taken yesterday and ousted (in the 
House) — 122 to 89. It shows how the wind blows. The National 
Intelligencer this morning says that this vote does not show conclu- 
sively what the feeling is; but it is generally understood as being a 
sign that we shall have no Bank. 

G. Sumner. 

I should be very glad to go home via S., and if I can take one 
day more, I will try to do it. I shall have been absent from B. over 
six weeks on my return (Tuesday). 

I must make the usual apologies for illegibility of ms., but it is 
almost impossible for me to sit down quietly for a space of time long 
enough to write a legible letter. Sights are to be seen, and time is 

1 Van Buren. 


short. I make my pen therefore fry over the paper without much 
Christian regard for the eyes of him who is to read. Trusting that 
you may be able to interpret, I am, yours, 


To Mary Sumner. 1 

Copenhagen, May ist, 1838. 

My dear Mary, — I wrote you this day fortnight by way of 
London, immediately after my arrival at this place, since when I 
have heard nothing from you or from Carolus. I received one letter 
from Albert 2 after the first one, and am daily expecting one from 
Charles. I shall probably be obliged to remain here a week or more 
longer, as the ice in the Baltic still continues frozen, and we are at 
the present moment, the ist of May, in the midst of a howling snow 
storm. You will receive with this some curiosities which I have 
sent home from Denmark. There are two packages on board the 
vessel ( the Garland, Capt. Nat. Whittemore, brother of Geo. Whit- 
temore and partner of the thrice renowned Hingham firm of Whit- 
temore & Loring) which Horace 3 can call for and receive. One of 
these contains some publications, which the celebrated Professor 
Rafn, the author of the work on Icelandic discoveries, has put into 
my hands, and which I have undertaken to send forward to the 
persons whom he wishes to have receive them. The other package 
contains some specimens of the Danish understandings, which are, 
you know, very thick and heavy, they being quite a phlegmatic people. 
It likewise has in it some pieces, taken from the tomb of Hamlet 
which you must preserve with the greatest veneration. You cannot 
imagine how much the few Washington relics, which I brought with 
me, are prized in Europe. Preserve those that you have. 

During the fortnight which I have been in Copenhagen, I have 
been continually occupied in seeking out the lines, and in collecting 
information with regard to the present state of Denmark, — the 
manners of the people, etc., etc., etc. Although a perfect stranger 
when I came, yet I have found "troops of friends" during the short 
time that I have been here, and my time is taken up more than I 
like by the attentions which have been bestowed upon me. There 
exists a great deal of curiosity abroad, to obtain information upon 
America, and I find that my company is courted by many, high in 
rank and character, who seem glad to receive in exchange for their 
attentions, such information as I have at my tongue's end, in re- 

1 1 82 2-1844. Pierce, Memoir and Letters of Charles Sumner, 1. 33. 

2 1812-1856. lb., 31. 8 1824-1850. Ib. y 33. 

1913J LETTERS OF GEORGE SUMNER, 1837-1844. 345 

gard to our institutions, form of government, internal improve- 
ments, etc., etc. 

The people of Copenhagen tell me that I know more about their 
forms and institutions than they do themselves. The fact is, I 
start off in the morning, and explore everything, from the palace to 
the hovel, making enquiries of every one, who can furnish me with 
any information. I completely astonished the natives by going up 
to a general, with swashing mustaches, dangling sword and flaunting 
epaulettes, and asking him in good, round English, if he could tell 
me when the high Court was held. But it was all Greek to him, he 
na-yed most beautifully in reply. I tried to put the question in some 
other shape, but it was of no use, and at last in sheer desperation, 
I out with the old question " Parlez vous Francais " " Oui, Monsieur." 
1 'Well then (not will you lend me the loan of a gridiron) but where 
is le place de la cour de justice? " "Oh! monsieur," and with a low 
bow, he took me under his military wing, and calling to a soldier, 
who with presented arms came, as an escort, we trotted down to 
the desired point. On the way I praised the beauties of Copen- 
hagen, its houses, statues, etc., and wound up by telling him "C'est 
une belle ville" After a long pause the General got out — "Boston " 
— with an explosion like a thunder bolt — l \un beau ville." You 
will see from that that his French was no more grammatical than 
mine, to say the least. After getting to the place, we exchanged 
military salutes and a profusion of thanks, pardonnez mois, excusez 
mois, etc. 

I have found a very pleasant and useful acquaintance in Mr. 
Woodside, our Minister here. 1 He is a man very much like Governor 
Lincoln in appearance and manner. I have taken rides with him 
about Copenhagen, in his splendid coach with the eagle-buttoned 
footmen, runners, etc., etc. The Minister of Republican America 
supports the most stylish equipage in Copenhagen, and when he 
goes forth in state, as he did of course when I was with him, the 
people run as they did to see John Gilpin of old, and those who do not 
see him exclaim, 

"When he next goes out to ride, 
May I be there to see." 

I dined a few days since at the house of a Dane, where we had 
six languages spoken at table — a regular tower of Babel business, 
I assure you. After dinner my host came up to me, and with out- 
stretched arms, exclaimed Velbe kumer her, and the exclamation was 
repeated all around the table, and the shaking of hands continued. 

1 Jonathan F. Woodside, of Ohio, who was charge* d'affaires, 1835-1841. 



Here was something new, and I called out for an explanation, when 
I found that the magic words meant in English, "May it do you 
much good," or "May good digestion follow it." I was immediately 
struck with its similarity to the exclamation of Macbeth, at his 
banquet, "Now good digestion wait on appetite and health on both." 
The manners of the Scotch, ever since the invasions of that country 
by the Danes, have partaken of a similarity to those of Denmark, 
and it is possible that this old custom of wishing good digestion, etc., 
was carried over to Scotland from Denmark, and coming to the ears 
of Shakespeare, was put into the mouth of a Scottish king. 

In my last letter from Albert, he speaks of starting a steamer from 
Liverpool to New York. Should this plan work, you will probably 
want to cross old Ocean in it. To both projects I say — "Go ahead, 
steamboat." I have as yet heard nothing from home since I left 
Christmas. If you don't write, I shall cut your acquaintance. As 
soon as you receive this, despatch a brimfull letter to me, care of 
Baring Brothers & Co., London, whom I shall keep instructed as 
to the sending of them forward. I suppose Albert will have left 
before this reaches home, and I have therefore not written to him. 
Tell him to write, and if Henry has arrived, make him write, — at 
any rate, let me know where he is. I bought those wooden under- 
standings on the 28th of April, your birthday. Let them go into 
your museum, and be joint stock among you and Horace and Julia. 1 
My love to them, to Mother, father, and all, from Yours afftly, 


You will have some music to practice upon when you get this — 
among other tunes the famous Vin Henri Quatre. This has varia- 
tions, which I detest, but I could get it in no other form, and only 
this single copy in its present. 

To Henry Sumner. 

Constantinople, [May 20th] 2 July 17th, 1839. 

My dear Henry, — I have put above the date on which I left 
Constantinople, since when I have passed to the Dardanelles, and 
over land through the parts of the Turkish Empire which are in- 
teresting from their association with antiquity. I spent four days 
on and about the plains of Troy, and have sought out every spot 
there upon which history or imagination attracts any interest. I 
was at Constantinople during the sickness and death of the late 

1 1827-1876. Pierce, 1. 34. 

2 The earlier date is struck out. 

1913J LETTERS OF GEORGE SUMNER, 1837-1844. 347 

Sultan — Mahmoud l — and I also saw all the ceremonies of the 
inauguration of the present Sultan. 2 This is a hard time for Turkey. 
The dissolution of the Empire seems almost at hand, and a general 
European war to decide who shall take possession will probably 
follow. I am in haste and scratch off these lines while on the wing; 
they will go by some vessel from Smyrna, but I shall write by way 
of Havre very shortly, so that all my news will go in that manner. 

Smyrna, July 27th, '39. 

I am here, and finish this to send you some things by the brig 
Russell. You will find a large bag containing my travelling bear 
skin shoub, which I intend to keep for winter-riding at home, also 
some stones from the plain of Troy, etc., etc. These I wish preserved, 
as I took them from particular spots, and wish afterward to compare 
them with some descriptions — do not mislay them. 

You will find also on board a small box, containing some little 
things, among these a silk dress for Mary, which I nought some 
months ago in the interior of Turkey at the ancient city of Brousa, 
the former Prusa, the city which is perched upon the side of Mt. 
Olympus, and the city which was the scene of the death of Hannibal, 
as well as, in after years, of Ottoman, the founder of the Turkish 
Empire. The dress which I send for Mary, I saw wove; near the 
tomb of Bajazet the Great, the adversary of Tamerlane, or Timor the 
Tartar, and also near what is supposed to be the tomb of Hannibal. 
"The worms were hallowed that did breed its silk," as much as were 
ever those that were the origin of Othello's charmed handkerchief. 
The mulberry trees on which they fed, I saw growing upon the side 
of the Mysian Olympus!! There is a bag of cachmere for Mother 
which I hope she will like, and some other things — curiosities. 

I shall mention all these particularly hereafter, but I have written 
upon everything, what it is, so that the box will tell its own story. 

Adieu, and may this letter, scratched in a great hurry, find you 
all well, in good health and in good spirits. Horace I hope is enjoy- 
ing himself and will be a good and intelligent lad. I was very glad 
to receive a letter from him written Jan'y 15th, which I found had 
been sent forward to meet me at Constantinople. 

Adieu, again from your afft. brother, 


I have just found here, by means of a Boston newspaper, the news 
of the death of father. 3 I feel too deeply to say anything at this mo- 

1 Mahmud II, sole survivor of the house of Osman, was Sultan from 1808 to 
1839. 2 Abd-ul-Mejid, son of Mahmud, who reigned until 1861. 

3 He died April 24, 1839. 


ment, when I have not one minute scarcely before the sailing of the 
vessel, but I hope and trust that mother and all of the family are 
patient and resigned under this bereavement; that philosophy which 
we all know we should exercise; and although I feel a strong tie is 
severed, yet I hope that all of us will bow in submission, and not 
quarrel with a decree of Providence which we cannot avert. I shall 
write fully hereafter, and what I may write then, you will receive 
before this. Adieu, and may God be with you all. 


To Mary Sumner. 

Damascus, August 31st, 1839. 
(Albert's birthday.) 

My dear Mary, — It is a long, a very long time, since I have 
written you, as it is likewise since I have received any news from 
home. I am afraid that we are about equally delinquent, but I have 
been so continually on the march, or have been so occupied, while 
stopping in different cities, in seeing persons and things, that I have 
scarce had time to sit down coolly to write a long letter home. 

I now write you from Damascus — the "orchard city" — the 
pride of former days, and the pride of the Turk still, for, wherever 
he may be, he looks to Esh-Sham as a place to which he must, one 
day or other, pay a pilgrimage, and it is here that one sees all that 
Oriental life, which in Constantinople by long contact with European 
alterations has been very much changed, and has in fact been almost 
entirely lost. In Damascus you see, however, only three or four 
persons in any but a Turkish, Arabic or Persian dress, and it is only 
two years since that no Christian was allowed to enter the gate of 
the city upon horseback. Since the coming to power of Ibrahim 
Pacha, all these restraints have been done away with, and Damascus 
is now as safe a city as Boston. I am at present writing this in the 
Latin Convent dedicated to the conversion of St. Paul, which you 
recollect took place outside of the city walls. Yesterday I went to 
the spot where stood the house of Ananias, 1 who you recollect bap- 
tized Paul. Here is a little cave, which was, as is said, the place for 
the underground meetings of the early Christians. The house of 
Judas, where Paul was baptized, still stands (!) It belongs to a 
Turk, who readily shows it for a piastre (about 4^ cents). All 
these things require a little faith to believe, but these are mere trifles 
compared with what one meets in other parts of Syria. At Jaffa, 
the ancient J op pa, I saw the place where Noah entered the Ark, and 
also the place where Jonah embarked in order to disembark into the 

1 9th Chapter of "Acts," I believe. Note by writer of letter. 

1913.] LETTERS OF GEORGE SUMNER, 1837-1844. 349 

whale's mouth. All these and a thousand more places equally in- 
teresting and equally well authenticated by the long-bearded monks 
who have charge of them, are shown to those who are credulous 
enough to believe. The convent where I now am, has a Superior 
and two Franciscan monks, whose employment is to say mass in the 
church at six o'clock in the morning, and to eat, sleep, smoke and 
laugh the rest of the time. This is the regular stopping place for 
all travellers, who have rooms, and food with the monks while they 
choose to remain, paying what they like on leaving to the cook, 
although no charge is made them. 

In Damascus, the rich houses are really elegant, far superior to 
those in European Turkey or in Asia Minor. The immense marble 
courts, paved with various colors, the fine fountains playing upon 
all sides; the orange trees hanging over them; the high ceilings, fan- 
tastically carved and gilded; the rich silk divans — all remind one 
of those ideas of Eastern luxury and elegance derived from the Ara- 
bian Nights; while at the same time, if you pass by any coffee shop 
in the evening, you will find different colored lamps hanging upon 
some tree opposite, and underneath and around hosts of Turks 
assembled, regaling their mouths by coffee and their pipe, and regal- 
ing their ears by the recitation of one of those very tales. What is a 
little remarkable too, the professional story tellers, at these coffee 
shops, will, just as they have wound up the hearers' curiosity to the 
highest point, suddenly break off, and promise to finish the story 
the next night. The next night, that is finished and another com- 
menced, which is, in like manner, broken off, and thus a web of tales 
is commenced, which is spun on, night after night, to the great 
benefit of the coffee maker or "Kafadge" as he is called. You will 
see that this trick is precisely the same as that used by the first re- 
later of the "Arabian Nights" in order to keep up the curiosity of 
the Caliph, and is the same also that is used now by magazine pub- 
lishers, and penny newspapers, in order to sell two copies instead of 
one. This is one of the Oriental sights which I have now before me, 
while I have also at every corner something to remind me of the 
East, and of the long distance which I am from our New World. I 
have been in Damascus about three days. I shall remain for about 
a week, and then start south for the Sea of Tiberius, Canaa, Nazareth, 
Samaria, Jerusalem, etc. There in the Holy City, I hope to find 
letters from you, and should I, you will perhaps again soon hear 
from me. I left orders to have my letters sent to certain places, 
but often they have not arrived until after I have left, when they 
are sent on to some other place, farther in advance. It is in this 
way that I hope to find a good budget of news awaiting me at 


I hardly know what to tell you, or what to write, — not for want 
of material, but for having too much. New and interesting spots 
have been so continually brought before me, and in such great vari- 
ety that it is difficult to choose what may be most interesting to you. 

I wrote to Henry from Smyrna by Brig Russell, some time ago, 
sending home at the same time some little things. I had not leisure 
then to write fully, but I mentioned I believe upon each article 
what it was. There was a piece of Broussa silk which I brought 
from the foot of Mt. Olympus for you, and several little things, also 
some stone, pieces of marble, etc., etc., from the plains of Troy. 
These I wish to have kept, as also all the curiosities which I may send 
home. I have not time frequently to mention what they are, but 
nearly all of them have for me a value which I shall at one time 
explain. These cards from Russia exhibit the costume of different 
nations, at the foundation of the Russian Empire more than 1,000 
years ago; they are therefore very curious and valuable, and I hope 
you will take good care of them, as of my other things. I sent at 
the same time my Russian shoub, or bearskin, in which I travelled, 
and which I shall keep for winter riding in America. (This must be 
put away from moths.) In the bag with that, was a real Damascus 
blade, which I found in the Bezertun or Jewel Bazaar at Constanti- 
nople. They are very scarce and valuable, and although I got this 
for a moderate sum, yet they frequently cost very high. In Damas- 
cus itself, there are very few Damascus swords to be had; those 
now made are very poor, and the secret has been transferred to 

Now that I have done with this, I will return to my route. From 
Smyrna (where I saw Mr. Langdon) I went to Scio (Chios) and 
saw the spot which the imprudence of the Greeks themselves caused 
to be destroyed. It is now as it was left in 1822, a beautiful, green, 
fertile, lonely island, but nearly all desolate. Roofless houses 
blackened with smoke are all that meet the eye. Here and there 
a few houses, after more than seventeen years' time, are beginning 
to appear with white walls and roofs on, but the greater part is like 
a city of the dead. The people of Scio had agreed to keep a strict 
neutrality during the Greek revolution. In an evil hour, they joined 
in that, and commenced by cutting the throats of all the Turkish 
garrison, in the night, while they, relying upon the promise of the 
Greeks, were quietly at rest. In return an immense force was sent 
down with the Captain Pasha at its head to sweep of the whole 
island. It was done, and scarce a soul was left. For weeks every 
corner and every fortress was searched, and the mountains offered 
no protection. The retribution of the Turks was terrible, but all here 
seem to think it was in some degree deserved. From Scio I went to 

I9I3-] LETTERS OF GEORGE SUMNER, 1837-1844. 351 

Santos, the birthplace of Pythagoras, and from Samos to Cos — 
this last is a fine island, green and fertile, and the old city, with its 
high battlemented wall, is very curious and interesting. Cos was 
the birthplace of " Hippocrates the father of Physic," whose head 
you must have seen mounted like that of a decapitated traitor 
upon a wooden post near the end of Boston Neck, just as you enter 
Roxbury. Whether it is there now or not, I cannot say, but here in 
Cos, is the fountain by which he sat, and as the Greeks say the tree 
under which he taught his disciples. Our great tree upon Boston 
Common must hide its head after this one. How old it is, no one 
knows. Geographers of the 15th and 16th centuries speak of it, 
and their descriptions make it of the same size that it is at present. 
It covers an immense extent, and its branches are held up by splen- 
did marble columns, taken from some of the old temples and placed 
perpendicularly under the limbs of the tree. With all these columns, 
it reminds one of the Banyan tree in India. In addition to Hip- 
pocrates Sisyphus, the man who spent his time in rolling stones up 
hill only to have them roll down again, was also born here. 

From Cos, I went to Rhodes, which is one of the most interesting 
places I have seen. As to the Colossus, he walked off and did not 
choose to be visible, but there are associations more recent which 
render this spot full of character. Here was the stronghold of the 
Knights of St. John, and long after the crescent and the star were 
floating over Syria, Palestine and the Islands of the East, the stand- 
ard of the cross was waving boldly from the great towers of St. 
Nicolai and St. John. This was the last place that surrendered. 
Although about 300 years since, yet everything bears the stamp of 
the old Knights: the great street of the Chevaliers with the arms of 
each emblazoned upon a marble slab in front of his house; the old 
church of St. John, now a mosque; the Hospital, used at present for 
Turkish barracks all remain, while the immense walls enclosing the 
city for miles in extent, of a strength inconceivable, and wide enough 
to allow three carriages to pass abreast upon their summit, still 
stand as memorials of the men that were. Parts of this are falling to 
decay, but the beautiful pile of St. Nicolai is kept in fine order. 
It is now a " Paynim tower," and from that waves at this moment, 
the Turkish flag — blood red, with a white crescent and star. 

From Rhodes I went to Cyprus, the island so famous of old as the 
birthplace of Venus, the Paphian queen. Paphos still stands, a 
miserable Greek village with a few houses built of mud, while near 
by are the fallen columns of the temple that once stood there for the 
goddess. All around the island, which is about 500 miles in circum- 
ference are ruins of ancient temples and cities. Laonica, where I 
stopped for one day, is near [the site] of the ancient Citium, which 


was the birthplace of Zeno the Stoic. You see, Mary, how completely 
I have been for some time past mixed up with those who flourished 
in antiquity. I shall become an antique myself almost, if I poke 
about in this way much longer, stumbling over old ruins, measuring 
columns, and climbing into tombs, etc. 

From Cyprus I went down upon the coast of Syria, and passed 
along by Tyre and Sidon to Jaffa, thence returned again and landed 
at Beirout, which is near the spot of the rencounter between St. 
George and the Dragon. He being my patron saint, I of course 
went to see the spot of his mighty deeds. There is a cave sure enough, 
and for all that I know, a dragon might have lived there once. He 
certainly would have shown good taste in selecting this spot, for 
when I went there, although my thermometer outside was at nearly 
ioo° Fahrenheit, inside it was delightfully cool and comfortable. 
The scattered Christians who are around, and who are firm believers 
in the certainty of the spot, go to this cave to burn a wax candle 
upon the 23d of April, St. George's Day. Near by is the fountain 
from which he drank after finishing his antagonist. From Beirout 
I went through Lebanon, (the country from which came in former 
days those famous cedars) and afterwards to the ruins of Balbek, 
the ancient Heliopolis City of the Sun. The Temple of the Sun here 
is in wonderful preservation, and so splendid and grand in its struc- 
ture that one can hardly conceive of it. The wall which surrounds 
it is the most wonderful thing (on account of the size of the stone) 
ancient or modern, in the world. There are immense stones more 
than seventy feet long and sixteen feet square, which are raised to 
an immense height. Compare it with something at home — one 
block of stone is as high as our woodhouse, twice as thick, and nearly 
twice as long — and of such pieces as this an immense pile is made 
— a stupendous building. The rich Corinthian columns are most of 
them level with the ground, a few stand, however, to show how 
beautiful the whole was. 

I have given you, perhaps, a prosaical account of some spots 
that I have been to since last writing you. Had I more time or 
more paper, I might give you many interesting accounts of the places 
that I have seen; but one day or other I hope we shall tell over our 
tales together, beyond the seas. Many of the places to which I am 
going, and some where I have been, have been much misrepresented 
by travellers. Buckingham, 1 who carried off so much money from 
Boston people (who are always ready to be made fools of, provided 
they have to pay dearly enough for it), is declared by all who know 
him, or the country that he attempts to describe, as a great humbug 

1 James Silk Buckingham, who wrote some books of travel in the East. 

IQI3-] LETTERS OF GEORGE SUMNER, 1837-1844. 353 

— a mere catch-penny speculator upon people's credulity. I have 
read some of his lectures, and from what little I have seen as yet 
I do not find any similarity to the places he describes; but never 
mind. He made a blaze, he charged a high price, he baited his hook 
well with humbug; and Boston vanity and Boston ignorance were 
caught!! So it is .usually in our American Athens! 

I have only a small space left to say good bye. I should write more 
fully, did I not expect within a fortnight to find letters from home, 
when I shall again write. Remember me, or I will here do it myself, 
to Mother, who is I hope in good health, to Horace and Julia. From 
Albert I have not heard for a long time. My last letter from Charles 
was at Rome, more than three months ago. I shall find letters from 
him also at Jerusalem. What are Horace and Julia about? How 
are you all? How is Henry? and what is the news? Write me at 
once, and send as before to Barings, and always, if possible, by a 
steamer, as it makes a great difference in time. 

I have with me now a servant who speaks, Turkish, Arabic, 
Abysinnian, Greek, Italian, and a little English. He is my drago- 
man and servant, and notwithstanding all the languages, which in 
America would make a lion of him, he is with them quite an every 
day character among his own people. He is a Greek, and the Greek 
Levantines speak almost every language upon earth. 

Dr. Lowell and his wife came to Damascus at the same time with 
myself. We arrived at the same time at Beirout. The Dr. proposed 
going when I went to Damascus, and Mrs. Lowell was determined to 
undertake the four days ride upon horseback herself, a journey suffi- 
cient to fatigue the muleteer, much more a lady. But she got through 
it grandly, and returns to-day with Dr. Lowell to Beirout, where 
they take a steamer, which leaves once a month for Alexandria. 
Dr. L's. daughter was with him, but she remained at Beirout, 
fearing to undertake the journey. They return to-day and I push 
on farther. Once more good bye and kind love to Mother and all, from 

Your aft. brother, 


My dear Henry, 1 — I have only time for a few words. I wrote 
you from Smyrna, after getting there the news of father's death, 
and I shall write again as soon as I find letters from you. It is best, 
I think, to put off for the present, any settlement of father's estate, 

— and to let things stand as they are, unless when some bills are com- 
ing due or some change must be made. This can continue for a year, 
and then things will be clearer. I do not know what arrangements 

x On the same sheet. 


have been made, but I think this would be best. There is no oc- 
casion for selling stocks as is frequently the case, at a great depreci- 
ation. I should prefer to see everything stand as it is, at all events 
for a little time. I presume Charles has written you in regard to 
this, though it is very long since I have heard from him, and I do 
not know. I merely mention what I have, before getting any letters, 
in order to let you see my opinion. At all events, I hope no decisive 
steps will be taken until I have time to know. I am astonished that 
Greene should have published an extract from my private letter to 
Mary as one written to him, for so I infer from your letter he has 
done. It is abominable. Had it appeared as taken from a private 
letter, it would have been different, but to put in remarks like those 
as coming from a newspaper correspondent is too bad! Tell Greene 
never to take anything from my private letters to publish, as if 
written to him. What one will say to a friend, he will not say for the 
world, and if "goodnatured friends" choose to bring it forward, 
they should at least have the delicacy to mention that they have 
published without leave of the writer. I wrote a letter to Greene some 
time ago, which he may have published; I wrote it while in the 
Caucasus. I wish you would tell Greene to take a copy of that 
paper, and send it by the London packet or steamer to England di- 
rected to the "Imperial Russian Embassy, London." 

The mail will soon close, for we have a mail even here. It is the 
English India Mail, that passes through Damascus. Affty, 


To George W. Greene. 1 

Naples, July 21, 1840. 

My dear Greene, — Enclosed I send you an order on Torlonia 
for $33, payable at sight. The difference, $3, is what I paid to 
Galluppi 2 for his book. There remain 13 cents to make up the 
sum of $36.13. Exchange here is very little more favorable than at 
Rome. Galluppi's book I sent to you yesterday by a Spaniard, a 
Carlist of some note in Spain. He was Secretary of Legation at 
Portugal and at Copenhagen, under Ferdinand, and afterwards 
was a confidant and, as I have heard, private secretary of Don Carlos. 
He is the best hearted fellow in the world, but, as you will see, if 
you meet him, not the man most likely to give firm wise counsel 
in time of danger. I met him in Rome once or twice, and he was 
a passenger in the diligence with me to Naples. He had hardly 

1 United States Consul General at Rome. 

2 Baron Pasquale Galluppi. 

1913.] LETTERS OF GEORGE SUMNER, 1837-1844. 355 

buttoned himself up comfortably here, when an order came from 
the police directing him immediately to quit Naples, and with this 
order, the very flattering announcement on the part of the Prefect, 
that if he were not a person comme il faut, he should send a corps of 
gendarmes with him to the frontier ! He, poor fellow, driven out of 
France, had taken his quarters here, thinking to find rest for his 
head, but it was denied him, and he has gone trundling back again 
to Rome. What an evidence of weakness and childishness on the 
part of a Government, when it thus shows its fear of one poor helpless 
solitary man. As he has taken charge of the book, you would do 
well to call on him. You may get some information from him. He 
is, as I have said, a very good fellow, but rather weak. 

I have called several times on Galluppi. He certainly is not the 
most elegant fellow in conversation, but he is not half so bad as 
many professors whom I have met. The Copenhagen professors, 
those who are the most distinguished, are even' more awkward 
than Galluppi, who sat while we were talking wriggling on his chair 
and grinning with apparent delight, at the same time not capable 
of uttering what he wished to say in response. I told him that you 
were making his name known upon the other side of the water, and 
were by means of his writings driving away the mystical clouds of 
German philosophy which were about settling over our people. I 
told him also that we were fortunate in our Console Generate at 
Rome, that instead of spending his time as most consuls and min- 
isters did in foreign countries, he was availing himself of his residence 
abroad to shed upon his own country, the beams of knowledge which 
he continually gleaned from all parts, and that one of the greatest 
gifts he had as yet made — was the translation of Baron Galluppi' s 
Letters. The old fellow was in ecstasies, rubbing his hands, until 
he finally got out quite as thundering a speech in response, the 
amount of which was that he felt highly honored and gratified that 
his book should be known in America, and felt more honored that 
it should be introduced to our country by one for whom he should 
feel the highest respect and consideration. And he then made me 
write down your name in full with all the Hssimos attached. The 
first time, I called on him with Lacaita (who is a most excellent 
fellow, one of the best I have met in travelling) he was quite 
astonished to see the old man's enthusiasm, which got amazingly 
stirred up during our conversation. At parting, Galluppi came all 
the way down stairs with us, and shook hands on the last step. 
The other day I was there alone, and he did the same, making me 
promise to call and see him when I returned from Sicily. He is 
now publishing a second edition of the Treatise on Logics, etc. Only 
three volumes are as yet completed, so that you have three of one 


edition and three of another. The second edition is precisely the 
same as the first, no notes and no additions, but for the sake of 
uniformity of appearance, he wishes the last three volumes to be 
sent on in about four months, to be exchanged for the new ones, 
which will then be ready. 

During the time that I have been in Naples, I have been con- 
stantly racing about. There is so much life and action going on here 
that one cannot easily, if he would, become stagnant. It is quite 
different from your grave, solemn, sleeping Rome. Some of my 
Neapolitan letters were pretty good, others, so, one in particular 
has turned out capitally. The letter was to a young man who is at 
this moment absent on a special mission to London. His father, 
however, received it and did the honors. From him I have got a 
great deal of information. He is one of the Consulti, a body of a 
few individuals who are called in by the King to assist in the councils 
of the Minister. ■ I met him first when I called to find his son, and 
we sat down together and had a chat at once. I began to suspect 
soon that he had some hand in the Government, so without giving 
him time to tell me what it was, I pressed all the questions which 
would have been forbidden had I known his rank. I asked him 
about the impartiality of the Ministers, the honesty of the Consulti, 
the wisdom of their counsels, etc. The old fellow gave some very 
sensible replies, thought there was too much flattery and too little 
honest independence in the Cabinet, and that men gave up their real 
opinions in order to please the King. After it was all over, when I 
was leaving, he told me he was one of the Consulti. At this announce- 
ment, the truth of which I was already pretty well convinced of, I 
appeared of course duly astonished, made necessary apologies, etc., 
etc. I have seen him two or three times since. 

Rothschild has given me the use of his box at S. Carlo. I have 
dined once with Throop. He is quite like a fish out of water in 
Naples. He is learning Italian, and was greatly delighted at his 
success in purchasing an ice cream the other day, alone, without any 
assistance !! 

I shall leave in a few days for Sicily, to be absent for two or three 
weeks. If Kinloch has not left yet, remember me to him. He has 
a good library in Florence. Do you think he would have any ob- 
jection to my referring to it while there? If not, I wish he would 
leave a line with you for his librarian. Should any letters or papers 
come for me, please send them on as I have before directed. If 
the book of which I spoke to you, comes from Vienna, please keep 
it at Rome until my return. If you write home to Boston or to any 
of the Cambridge clique, mention that I am in your region. I 
believe some of those fellows have an evil eye towards me, and though 

1913.] LETTERS OF GEORGE SUMNER, 1837-1844. 357 

I don't care much for them, yet their good opinion is as well to have 
as their bad. 

Since being in Naples, I have made the circuit of all the principal 
curiosities in the vicinity, — have been to Baiae, Cumae, and the 
Lake of Averno ; have roasted in the sun at Pompeii above ground, 
and been chilled by the cold of Herculanaeum, below; have been at 
the top of Vesuvius, and at the bottom, almost, of her crater. What 
an infernal roaring, smelling, bellowing, spitfire place it is. Had I 
seen devils, such as Mich. Angelo has at the bottom of his Last 
Judgment, poking up the cinders, or grinning and chatting with 
one another after having whisked away the ashes with their tails, 
to make a clean place to sit down upon, / should have scarce felt any 
astonishment. They would have been so perfectly in harmony with 
the rest of the scene as to excite no surprise. I arrived at the top of 
the mountain some time before sunrise; the air was damp, and had 
kept down all the smoke within the crater, so that I saw it full and 
afterwards clear, when the dry air above allowed it to escape. I 
have brought off the piece of lava for Mrs. Greene, and shall en- 
deavor to get her another from Mt. Etna. 

I shall remain here some days before going to Sicily, until I hear 
from you. I repeat again, dispose of me entirely if you have the least 
occasion. I shall not leave for Sicily until I hear from you. Re- 
member me kindly to Mrs. Greene, and believe me, 
Yours, truly and affectionately, 

George Sumner. 

To George W. Greene. 1 

Florence, Nov. [?] (Wednesday), 1840. 

My dear Greene, — I have just received your letter enclosing 
others from home. Of a truth my good friends have found out the 
way, and I shall be obliged to call out to them in the words of 
Macbeth "hold, enough." Whether I shall be "damned" for that 
expression of sentiment or not, I really cannot say, but to all 
appearances I shall certainly not be worth a damn unless I 
make it. 

I arrived in Florence safe and sound on Saturday evening, having 
remained an entire day at Sienna, where I saw Min. just on the point 
of departure for Pisa, to the University of which place he has been 
transferred. We shall perhaps meet there. By good fortune, the 
company in our carriage was excellent. A Genoan priest, who had 
taken the habit of sanctity to work his political schemes to better 

1 From a copy. 


advantage, who had written one or two tragedies, "Palamed" was 
one, and who had been locked up three years in prison at Turin, was 
one of the company. Then a young intelligent Florentine (Cavalier 
by the way) who, having taken a wife, had taken shortly after, a 
journey to Rome, and was now taking both back to Florence. A 
woman in a public coach is an awful thing, but she was so young, 
pretty, witty, intelligent, and knew so well how to take care of her- 
self, that her company was quite pleasant. She could talk politics, 
could argue, yes, even longer than Goldsmith's schoolmaster, sing 
and dress the evening's salad. A pretty girl, and clever without af- 
fectation. One of the first things she did in Florence was to make her 
uncle — de Mantalos — one of the principal guns of the place and 
the Director in Chief of all the Galleries, give me "full powers" to 
go at any time to the Closed Rooms, the Cabinets of Gems, etc., 
etc. Her father-in-law is one of the Consulti, the body which 
comes next in rank after the Ministry. We had one more curious 
character, and he, with myself, made up the coach load. This one 
was an Englishman, but so quiet, still and gentle that one might 
take him for a gentleman. He was about fifty-five, dressed in a rusty 
hat, a well worn coat, shoes, and white worsted socks showing them- 
selves below his pants. He was short and had a large head. At 
first, I supposed, as he came from Naples, that he was some Director 
or Deputy Director of the cotton fabrics at Salerno, and I talked 
very learnedly about all things thereto pertaining. He looked as 
grave and mysterious as if he were really the Director, and as if 
another one were trying to pump out his private information. Still 
I did not understand him exactly. All at once he popped out with a 
quotation from Livy, in a few moments another one followed, and in 
the evening he undertook to detect wrong spelling in a Greek word. 
I thought he must be a retired parson, no — village doctor, no — . 
The second day as we were walking through some little village, I 
bought a pocketful of roasted chestnuts, and offering some to him, 
asked him to partake of the classical castagnes. His little eyes 
twinkled, his large mouth opened, and like a shot, out came a line 
from Virgil, another and another followed, like capping lines at 
school, all suggested by the simple word castana. We went into a 
Osteria, and while drinking a fogliette of wine, the small battery 
kept playing, and Virgil, Horace, and a hundred others, not omitting 
the old Greek Anacreon, were laid under contribution, and obliged to 
pay toll to this apparently quiet, soft, good natured, simple hearted 
old man. I could not forbear complimenting him on his success in 
keeping up so perfect a knowledge of the classics. "I ought to," 
said he, "it has been my business all my life. For 30 years I was 
Second Master of Eton College." And then all the rest of the way 

I9I3-] LETTERS OF GEORGE SUMNER, 1837-1844. 359 

was anecdote and chat of "his boys," now M.P's., LL.D's. and 


Greenough 1 I have seen, also that good simple hearted Yankee, 
Peisser. Cooley will not go on for some two or three weeks, perhaps 
a month. Everett has, I am told, taken a house for six months. 
Molini has none of the books you wish, and I do not see but there 
is a good opportunity for me to "walk off." He expects some more 
books, however, very shortly (when was there a bookseller who did 
not in case he was unprovided with the book you wanted) and per- 
haps you may get your money's worth. 

I have had two letters which I really wish I could send to you. 
One is from Charles and one from Hillard. I do not know whether 
to laugh or to cry, to be vexed or to be quiet. Hillard's letter is 
pretty good, some pleasant chat, some compliments, pattings on 
the head, I should call them, and then a sentence like this — "Had 
your MS. on Greece been lost, the great good to you would have been 
none the less secured by the mental discipline and the vigorous 
exertion of your faculties in its preparation." I thought Hillard 
knew me, that "mental discipline," "vigorous exercise," etc., etc., 
is only what I have been practising ever since I knew how to think. 
Certainly those powers were not exercised by me on this occasion 
to which Hillard alludes with any more force than they have been 
constantly since I have been travelling, and not half as much as 
when thinking of some other countries, not more than on every 
octavo which I did for many years before I left home. It annoys 
me that because I have kept quietly thinking and working in my 
shell, one of the results of that thought is looked at as something 
which will train my mind, which will create that of which it is only 
one, and proportionately, a very small consequence. Hillard says 
I have before me "a sun-illumined future." That is all very 
well — a future illumined by the gracious smile of the "first circles," ■ 
and literati of Boston. Longfellow tells me, "trust no future, 
however pleasant." Charles' letter contains facts showing such a 
state of feeling at home as makes me almost forswear America. 
I could do it to-day in the Church of S. Croce, if I thought my 
country depended upon such men as are many of those victims to 
party feeling, who make up society at the North. Will you believe, 
that because that article on Greece 2 appeared in the Democratic 
Review, the only review we have which goes to foreign capitals, the 
review which champions in a moderate way those principles upon 
which our Government is founded, the only review published at 

1 Horatio Greenough. 

2 "The Condition of Greece in 1842," Democratic Review, vui. 204. 


Washington, therefore the most fitting to receive an article written 
abroad, and discussing the movements in a foreign nation, the review 
which Advaros (Min. of Pub. Ins. in Russ.) hailed as a publication 
which gave a tone to America abroad, and enabled her to appear 
with a review not a poor repetition of the poor matter of English 
reviews — because that article appeared in the Democratic Review, 
it is trodden under foot, and I am denounced as "an Administration 
man." I will show you what Charles writes. "[Nathan] Hale de- 
clines to insert your article in The Advertizer on account of its 
present position. ... I showed it to Ticknor, who said it was a 
' striking article,' but was sorry to see it in such company. Seriously, 
my dear George, think of abandoning your leaky craft. Professor 
Greenleaf spoke to me about you last week. He had been grieved 
by the position you had taken, and said that it had been lamented 
by many people who were prepared to be your friends. [Prepared 
to be friends, after I had no occasion for their friendship. I admire 
their prudence, hope they will take the alarm, and run.] Judge 
Story did not mention your name till I introduced it two days ago. 
He has been much troubled by your position, and of course did not 
speak of it out of delicacy to me." God damn them all 1 1 and yet 
I cannot but laugh, roars of horrid laughter, on thinking of all these 
things. But in truth I have ground to feel melancholy. What a 
state of things does not this disclose at home? How the demon of 
party feeling must have crazed the minds and feelings of men whose 
characters one would suppose firm and high. I have reason to feel 
anger, too. While abroad I have endeavored to think, feel and act 
as though I had a country, not as though I had a party. I have 
endeavored also to make others know and feel that America was a 
country, that it was something more than a great political barber 
shop, or a mere extent of ground excellent for the raising of cotton. 
And this is what I find comes back upon me from home. The oil 
of pure patriotism I fear is burnt low. I trust however, enough will 
remain to guide my steps through the dim and narrow path which 
is to mount to the "sun-illumined future." Shall you write to 
Boston? Pray, say something for both these gentlemen. Do not 
vindicate me however. Castigate them. 

I might almost be vexed at another thing in Charles' letter. "I 
wish you would write," he says, "something to be published here 
that would make you known in Boston and thereabouts in an agree- 
able way. Write a letter on Egypt such as you have given on Greece. 
People are interested now in Egypt, more than in Greece." I have 
italicized myself. I read the whole of that over ten times at least 
before I could believe it was really written. O ye immortal gods! 
Can it be possible that he has looked at that letter on Greece, a 

1913.] LETTERS OF GEORGE SUMNER, 1837-1844. 361 

letter which contains material for history (I mean history) that he 
has looked at, and treated that as a thing intended to tickle the 
"interest" of "people." And then in regard to Egypt, does he not 
know that a letter like that would be impossible to write. Egypt 
has in Europe a friend, France, who has kept her before the world. 
Greece is Europe's victim, and the truth for her is never heard. 
Charles speaks as if a letter like that was something to be written on 
any subject. I thought he would know better, perhaps some of the 
others might not know the difference between that and the gener- 
ality of traveller's letters, but it seems this has gone the way of all 
things. "It is under a bushel," C. says, "and there it will remain." 
Charles says, "Send me something with a carte blanche." What a 
request! Something I suppose to pander to the vulgar appetite of 
the people of Boston. Notwithstanding my horror and indignation 
at the idea, I feel that I shall almost be weak enough so to degrade 
myself as to comply. Pray, write to me and dissuade me from it. 
Do it quickly, or I may write an article that may make me known in 
the vicinity of Boston in an agreeable way, but will cause me to 
despise myself. 

I have found here the new work of [ ] Bey, the French 

physician of whom you have heard me speak, upon Egypt. It is a 
remarkable book, great in its research, though a little natural vanity 
is displayed in describing some of their improvements in which he 
was the principal actor. Let reviews speak of that, he deserves 
ten times as much praise as he has given himself. I thought of 
writing a review of this, but that must be something stiff and formal, 
and would require more time and care than I can bestow. The idea 
has occurred to me of writing another letter to Hillard. Tell[ing] 
him about Egypt. I cannot say what I have of Greece, because 
others have ploughed the ground (get in a word for Greece there) ; 
tell him I shall say something of Egypt to "enlighten his weak un- 
derstanding," etc., etc. Give a slight historical sketch of Egypt 
from the time of Saladin to the Crusades, which is a convenient 
place to jump in, down to its conquest by Turkey, the Government 
under the Sultans, the Mamlouks, their destruction, the comet of 
Mehemet Ali's authority, his first opposition to the Porte, the fuller 
establishment of his power, the improvements he has undertaken, 
— (His organization of the courts, his taxes, the councils of his army 
and navy, his hospitals, etc., etc. his general policy. His second 
row in 1831 with Turkey, Ibrahim's march to Syria and Constan- 
tinople. Russian interposition, treaty of Unkiar Skelassi, 1 his move- 
ments for five years after, battle of Nezib and treason of Capitan 
[Ahmed] Pasha, shuffling diplomacy for one year, treaty of January 

1 July 8, 1833. 


15, '40, English distribution of arms in Syria, Syrian population, 
lazy rascals, Emin Beshin [?] resists English influence, finally comes 
in (Biography of E. B. for which I have all the facts. His life has 
been remarkable, he has despised uncle, cousin, brother, without 
anything to back him but his head and his sword, it is rare. I have 
many facts and I see in the Journal des Debats a full biography, 
which is correct, because though fuller it agrees with mine. This 
almost would make an article. Can I use that in the Journal des 
Debats without plagiarism? When shall I bring in this biography; 
it is so long it would break up the letter?) The affair at Beireut, 
Solomon Pasha, describe him, his correspondence with Moore 
which I showed you, and his letter to Stephen (give the substance 
of them). Remarks upon Eng. humanity, suggest their laurels from 
Syria will be such as already grace their homes from Copenhagen, 
Naples, Panama, Greece, etc., etc. Remark upon old Mehemet's 
policy to have his unpaid troops killed off by the English. Suggest 
that his existence as Pasha is as necessary for the "balance of power " 
as is the Sultan's. Blow up the balance of power as something from 
which we are happily free, something which has filled St. Angelo 
and the dungeons of Tarsis, etc., etc. In connection with his exist- 
ence being necessary mention what his present army and navy, 
commercial relations etc., revenues, etc., (or ought all this to come 
in far up, when I am discussing his improvements, his hospitals, 
etc., or should I omit that to the end?) and so wishing the English 
to the devil for their bullying interference, wind up — (I want to 
speak of Russia having outwitted England and what Russia has 
gained by this, but it is delicate ground). Now what shall I do? 
This looks very formidable. It is too much for a letter, I think, 
besides it is only what has been written a hundred times by French 
and English. I should be ashamed to dirty my fingers by putting 
them into the general mess. Pray, write me and tell me not to write 
a letter such as this is the skeleton of. I depend on hearing from 
you by the first post; in four days I shall expect your letter. 
Goodbye, Yours truly, 

George Sumner. 

The post leaves in a few minutes. Remember me to Mrs. Greene, 
send on any letters, the journals if you have any for me, at once. 
Send me your blank form for different governments with the filling 
out for the Papal State. Let me have this at once please. I should 
like to fill in others in the same way. 

1913.] LETTERS OF GEORGE SUMNER, 1837-1844. 363 

To Charles Sumner. 1 

Madrid, July 26, 1843. 

My dear Charles, — It is a long time that I have been waiting in 
patient expectation hoping to have some news from you, but no 
letter has reached me later than one of three months ago. When in 
the South of France I met at Poitiers one of the Professors of the 
Faculte de Droit, who inquired after you and took the pains to call 
upon me to express the respect which he entertained for your noble 
self. Before I go any farther in a letter from Madrid, I must tell you, 
what you will be delighted to hear, that the reports of Mr. Irving's 2 
ill health seem to have been much exaggerated in America. He is 
weak still, but he seems fast recovering, and the events of the past 
three weeks have had a most admirable effect in putting him on his 
legs. I am not sure indeed that a pronunciamento is not as good as 
Peruvian bark in restoring a weakened stomach. On the 10th 
] at Madrid, on the nth the Generale was beaten, and 
20,000 men, the Army "patriotica e numbra valiente milicia nacional 
de este Army heroica ville de Madrid," were under arms; on the 
14th, the attack from without was commenced and a sort of pop- 
gun fire was kept up for four days. Two different armies, one under 
[Ramon] Narvaez, and one under Aspiroz, were thundering at the 
gates, while the few troops faithful to the Regent 3 were scattered 
about the country, part of them in Andalusia, and part on their way 
from Barcelona. On the approach of that division, Aspiroz hauled 
off four days ago to give them battle, but at the moment of [victory] 
the Regents' troops 4 joined the rebels (who being successful became 
from that moment patriots), and that very evening the city proposed 
terms of capitulation. On Sunday the first column marched in, 
and that was followed up by 20,000 more on Monday, so that now 
Madrid has 50,000 hardened and sunburnt troops within the walls. 
These troops, perhaps the best in the world, looked most admirably, 
and their triumphant entry was a sight to behold. Browned and 
roasted in the burning sun of Spain, for the greater part of them 
have marched all the way from Barcelona or Valencia, over its shade- 
less plains, torn and ragged in their dress, some with one trouser 
leg, some with none at all, but every one erect and firm and marching 
with admirable step to the rude music of their bands, their appear- 
ance was really imposing. This surrendering the city settled the fate 

1 From a copy. 

2 Washington Irving, United States minister to Spain, February 10, 1842, to 
July 29, 1846. 

3 Baldomero Espartero. 4 Commanded by Seoane. 


of the Regent, and he has by this time probably embarked at Cadiz 
for England. During all this recent movement, the conduct of 
Louis Philippe has been most unfriendly. In the hope of realizing 
the boast of Louis XIV, that the Pyrenees were levelled, he has 
been straining every nerve to introduce a confusion in Spain which 
shall end in the breaking down of the constitution, and the restora- 
tion of a despotism. The marriage of the Due d'Aumale with the 
young Queen Isabel, an intelligent little girl of thirteen years, his 
favorite project, and that question before eighteen months are 
over, will lead either to a general European war, or what is more 
probable to a European Congress. Espartero during all his time of 
power as Regent has kept within the letter of the Constitution, and 
never given any proofs of those ambitious intentions with which 
he has been charged by the Radical and Despotic parties (Exaltados 
and Moderados), who are amazed at him. He was an honest man, 
but unfortunately void of talent, and in his recent movements has 
been made a cats-paw for men, who have now deserted him. The 
questions which are now agitating Spain are indeed most curious 
for an American to study, for the base of all the recent movements 
has been the same as that which brought about South Carolina's 
nullification in 1832. The tables are, however, turned in Spain, 
and it is the Catalonian manufacturer who now pronounces (and 
he is sustained even by the agricultural [class]) against a treaty 
with England which shall aid in the introduction of their fabrics. 
Hatred to England has been indeed the watchword of all the recent 
pronunciamentos and "fuera la rager Anglo-ay acucho " has con- 
stantly rung out in the plazas of all the towns. 

I have seen much of all these movements, having been at Vittoria 
and at Burgos on the days of their pronunciamientos, and at Valla-- 
dolid (glorious old convent, for the town is like a great ruined con- 
vent) on the more important day when Aspiroz arrived from Madrid 
and took command of the army destined to besiege the capital. 
We were both in the same Fonda, he having arrived in the morning 
from Madrid, I in the evening from Burgos. After coquetting for 
several hours with the Ayuntamiento and the Junta Provisional, he 
at length at nj^ p. m. consented to take the command. Detach- 
ments from the different corps were then marched up to the Plaza 
in front of the inn, bearing lighted torches, guards of honor were 
posted near, and the different bands saluted with rich music the 
general who had fled from his youthful Queen, and was now prepar- 
ing at the head of rebel troops, to invade her capital. As I looked 
out upon the sight below and listened to the shouts of these soldiers, 
"viva la Constitucion de 1837," "viva el Ministerio Lopez," "viva 
el General Aspiroz, ,, "fuera la rager Anglo- Ay acucho "I ! which 

1913.] LETTERS OF GEORGE SUMNER, 1837-1844. 365 

took up the intervals of the bands, I could not but think of Ximenes 
and how little poor Spain has changed since his day. You will re- 
member when his powers were questioned, his pointing coolly to 
his armed bands in the court yard below remarking, "by those 
powers I govern Spain." The curse of Spain is her army, that army 
born from the civil war which followed the death of Ferdinand, 1 
and which now covers like the poisoned mantle every part of this 
rich land. Spain has 138,000 troops with a host of officers indolent 
and ignorant, whose only hope of advancement, whose only recre- 
ation is a pronunciamiento, a rebellion. All those sights and all that 
eloquent music of Valladolid, I got, as my window was next to the 
General, free of cost and care, and during the week that I remained 
there, I was frequently in his company. They considered me indeed 
as a sort of neutral in the war of Spain, and my advice was asked 
about their foreign relations and internal affairs, which as Aspiroz 
was likely to be the first to reach Madrid, would devolve for the 
moment entirely on him. But in all these movements the really in- 
dustrious, useful part of the population takes no part. I was at 
Vittoria, as I told you before, on the day it pronounced. A few 
leagues before entering the town, I met the Captain General with 
two dragoons at his back, who was on his retreat, and on entering 
the town some noise was going on in the Plaza Major. A portrait of 
the Queen was placed in front of the Casa del [ ] guarded 

by two of the longest moustaches to be found among the pro- 
nouncing troops, and a fellow with a moustache still longer was pour- 
ing out under this picture, patriotism in a voice most sonorous. 
Some shouted, but while all this was going on, tailers were thimbling 
away at their boards, and workmen were laying a new pavement in 
the very Plaza itself. "Hijos de Putas," cried out the master pavier 
to the patriots who ran over his newly laid stones. To do the Bar- 
bers justice, le — "largo factotum alia citta" — was on the spot, 
and quitting his basin (Membrino's helmet) [threw] his greasy cap 
among the highest. 

I suppose all this will be very dull and prosaic to you, but what is 
written is written. Pray, tell Prescott that old Navarrete 2 who 
still lives on, inquired very anxiously for him and the progress of 
his new work, which he did not know had seen the light. Give also 
to Prescott the kind remembrances of Martinez de la Rosa, 3 whom 
I knew in Paris, coupled with his shame, that no Spaniard had 
forestalled him in his great work of Ferdinand and Isabella. 

1 Ferdinand VII (1 784-1833). 

2 Martin Fernandez de Navarrete, author of a collection of Spanish voyages 
since the fifteenth century. 

3 Francisco Martinez de la Rosa, a Spanish poet. 


I shall go in about two weeks to Andalusia. I should indeed have 
hurried away sooner, but the movements here have been most in- 
teresting to observe, and I have been keeping Mr. Irving company, 
who, left quite alone by the temporary absence of the Secretary of 
Legation, seemed not at a little contented to have an American by 
his side. We have inspected the militia together and his dry humor 
has been flowing most freely. He has become now quite disen- 
chanted in regard to Spain, and begins to think that Spain is very 
much like most other countries. Indeed the meanness and treachery, 
and the perfidy, stooping to small objects as well as great, which 
have been perhaps at work for centuries in the Spanish Government, 
but which a constitutional form now brings more palpably before 
the eyes of the observer, are not certainly calculated to [ | 

one for their good impressions formed at a distance, and which I 
believe for many things, Spain so richly deserves. 

Adieu. I write in a great hurry, and I pray that your eyes may 
be able to interpret this scrawl. Give my kind remembrances to 
all those who care to remember me, and do not let so long a time go 
by without writing me. Yours most affectionately, 


P. S. You once took the liberty to print one of my private letters. 
Don't do so with this. 

P. S. The mail goes one day earlier than I had thought, and I 
have scratched this off in order not to miss this steamer, hardly 
knowing what it contains or what I have forgotten. 

P. S. The catalogue of books which Mary says you give me credit 
for was prepared and the preface written by Putnam, who spent 
most patriotically 150 pounds in having it bound up with different 
reviews and periodicals. 

To George W. Greene. 

Barcelona, 8th January, 1844. 

My dear Greene, — I cannot find it in my heart to reproach you 
for your long silence and for your failure to reply to the several 
letters which I have from time to time written you, for I know 
how fully your time is occupied, what cares weigh upon your mind, 
and how precious to you are the moments which others let roll on 
without seeking to make them profitable to their fellow men. Still, 
when you can find an unemployed quarter of an hour, a few lines 
from you, would highly gratify me, even if there were only enough 
of them to preserve as an autograph. You will see by my date that 
I am still a wanderer on the face of the earth. I have written you 
before at various times, and once I think, when in England. There 

1913.] LETTERS OP GEORGE SUMNER, 1837-1844. 367 

I remained many months, and in Scotland, and in Ireland also. In 
the last, I passed quite round the island, and saw with my own eyes 
the abject misery of the people. My first day in Dublin was spent 
in breakfasting in the morning with the Lord Mayor, Dan O'Connell, 
and dining in the evening with the Protestant Primate of Ireland, 
Archbishop Whately. I thought when the day commenced, as I 
considered the duties which it was to bring on, some " rhubarb, 
senna or purgative drugs" would be necessary to put at rest the 
jarring elements that were likely to be brought in contact. All, 
however, went off well. I mention this to show you a specimen of 
the opportunities which I had for observation on both sides. What- 
ever faults you may find in O'Connell's character, he is certainly a 
great man. Nicolas in Russia has not such absolute sway, as he has 
in Ireland. Englishmen know nothing of his power, as little indeed 
as they do of the continued misery and injustice which he is seeking 
to bring to a close. I could tell you many things of Ireland, of Irish 
landlords, and of Irish justice; for the Courts of Petty Sessions, 
where the feudal baron, under the name of Justice of the Peace, 
condemns his serf to all but the sword, present the clearest picture of 
the position of the people, and these I constantly attended. 

But from Ireland to Spain. I arrived in the North of Spain at 
Vittoria on the very day of its pronunciamiento against Espartero, 
and rebellion seemed to follow, or rather to run just half a day before 
me in all my course towards Madrid. Under pretense of inquiring 
whether the roads would be secure, I took occasion to see all the new 
self-created Captains General, and Juntas provisional de Gobierno, 
of whom I could tell you many characteristic tales. Leaving Aspiroz, 
the general who finally took possession of Madrid, whom I met 
at Valladolid and accompanied on his march, I passed on and en- 
tered the capital, while my companion with his 6,000 troops re- 
mained ten days knocking at the gates. But enough of what I 
saw. You will watch with interest the course of things in Spain. 
She has begun her crab-like course, but is moving on at more than a 
crab's pace. The Cortes have already been dismissed for an indefi- 
nite term, new plans of administration are proposed sinking the 
Cefes Politicos who correspond to the Prefets in France, and uniting 
all power in the hands of the Captains General. A soldier not unlike 
in some points to Murat, but totally devoid of Murat's talent, is 
the moving spirit at Madrid. 

The combination to overthrow Espartero (a man whose only 
merit was his bounty, but whose feebleness of character was made 
conspicuous the moment he was taken out of his cavalry saddle) was 
a most unnatural one, but still such as one not unrarely sees. The 
Radicals of Catalonia, and the Absolutists of Ferdinand united, and 


the last have swamped their allies. Both of those parties had active 
relations with France; the stronghold of the former was at Barce- 
lona itself, and here all the books from Pognerne's, Abbe Lamennais, 
etc., etc., are translated into Spanish and eagerly read. They were 
the admirers of the French Republicans, while the "moderados" 
are the favored friends of Louis Philippe. The union of these two 
parties has been just as lasting and just as cordial as one might 
suppose it would be. 

You will have read much of the "horrible bombardment of Bar- 
celona" by Espartero in December last, an event which the press of 
Louis Philippe turned to great advantage in its continued attacks 
upon Espartero. Van Halen threw into the town from Moujuich 
(Mons Jovis, or Mons Judaicus, for here the Doctors disagree) 815 
shells and balls, and ended his business in less than 24 hours. The 
shells were of 10 to 14 inches diameter. Now the very men who 
vilified Espartero for this act have repeated it, and during three 
months of almost continued firing thrown into the town more than 
13,000 projectiles. But they were not bombshells? Oh no! they 
were only g-inch grenades, thrown from well-pointed howitzers; and 
this difference of an inch and a name, seems quite sufficient now to 
gloss over any discrepancy, which a captious observer might fancy 
he discovered, between the preaching and practice of the gentlemen 
in power. 

If anything could reconcile one to the backward course which 
things seem destined to take, it is the poor use which the Spaniards 
have made of their admirably written constitution of 1837, and of 
the liberty which they have had for some years in their hands. 
Intrigue, deception and jealousy seem at work on every side. The 
bad financial laws of Spain, bear old and unwholesome restraints 
upon industry, closing up as they have done the honorable paths 
which in other countries are open to the activities of youth, have 
thrown here upon the nation a mass of bustling, intriguing, selfish 
place-hunters, and have formed of Madrid itself a great magazine 
of empleados pretendientes and cess antes. It is most remarkable that 
in all the recent violent internal commotions of this country, not one 
really great man has been thrown to the surface. Great men, you 
will tell me, are rare ; true, but it is under the pressure of such events 
as Spain has been and still is enduring, that they come forth. Every 
thing, however, and every man appears flippant and superficial, 
and half-formed. The liberty of the press is licentiousness (how 
different the Spanish press from the Greek) — the National Guard, 
a band of legalized janizaries. As a set-off to all this, Spain has 
ridded herself of her convents and has thinned down her priesthood. 
Pray pardon me this long and dull preaching. 

1913.] LETTERS OF GEORGE SUMNER, 1837-1844. 369 

I leave here in a few days for Marseilles, and then to Paris, where 
you know how happy I should be to find good news from you. My 
address is chez Mm. Emerson & Cie. I have been in almost all the 
provinces of Spain. At Valladolid, Burgos, Toledo, Seville and 
Granada. In Seville I remained a month copying papers in the 
Archivos de las Indias. Irving (who by the way, is most thoroughly 
disenchanted in his opinion of Spain) had got for me full permission 
from the government for this search. It kept me from rusting while 
in Seville. I pitched upon the Florida papers as having a special 
interest for us, and copying several, made a complete index of all 
the rest, so that when the enlightened government of the United 
States chooses to secure matter for its own history this index will 
be at its disposicion (I slip in a Spanish word here, for it is constantly 
on one's tongue in Spain — soy a su disposicion, etc.) and aid it 
perhaps in its researches. Some of the letters to Philippe II from 
those who went up Chesapeake Bay hunting after gold are curious 
enough. They all complain of the poorness of the country, and the 
governors of San Augustine and S. Elenes, recommend to Philip to 
abandon altogether the place, and send them to Mexico, "where 
they can better serve His Majesty" 

I tell you what I have been seeing, in hopes you will answer in 
the same way. What is going on now at Rome? Who is there, and 
how are the people? I have felt a thousand times for you in the 
position in which you are placed, in contact with so many unamiable 
chips of humanity. What is Crawford about now? I hope he did 
not jump into the Tiber or commit any other Tom-Crawfordism 
when the news reached Rome of the sad accident to his poor or- 
phans. I shall remain some months quietly in Paris, and then turn 
my face to the West. Time and money have both rolled away and I 
fear small fruit is left behind. Do you remember your counsel about 
Russia? I have never put the idea out of my mind nor the materials 
out of my hand, but I feel the task too great, and day by day see 
my own incompetence. 

Pray, remember me most warmly to Mrs. Greene and to little 
Charlotte. Does "that dog" Pontius Pilate, still bark under your 
protection? With what pleasure I look back upon those delightful 
walks and rambles about the Lake of Albano. I forget the shivering 
ague which then sometimes annoyed me, when I recall' the pleasure 
of those days. (N. B. It was only your bad Roman air which gave 
me the touch of fever — since then, I have known nothing of it.) 
My letters from Boston are to the 15th of November. My brother 
Charles was well and hard at work, Longfellow happy, but blind. 
Have you seen Dr. Howe? Tell me, is not Greece " awake " ? What 



do you think of their revolution? and of Kallergis? l Of him, I 
think I told you something when in Rome. He is the one who, a 
lad of 1 8, formed a company of his own, which he alone paid, spend- 
ing in various ways $50,000 before the war was over. It is hard to 
say whether or not he was entirely single-minded in this last affair, 
whether he intended to aid the plans of Russia, or whether he out- 
witted Katakagi. If the last, he is greater than Brutus — the 
[blot] Brutus, I mean. I have seen Kallergis scouted at and seen 
people turn their backs upon him because he was considered as sold to 
Russia. And this treatment he has received for ten years. Has he 
endured all this in order to gain a position to save his country? 

Once more, my dear Greene, a thousand warm remembrances to 
Mrs. Greene and yourself, a thousand thanks for your many and 
long-continued attentions to me in Rome, and twice ten times as 
many heartfelt wishes for your health, fame and prosperity, from 
Your affectionate friend, 

George Sumner. 

Mr. Clarence S. Brigham, of Worcester, presented the fol- 
lowing letter to the Society: 

David Thomas to Griffith Evans. 

My Dear Cousin, — I have not had a line from you I dont know 
when, have you forgot your poor old uncle immers'd in the fatigues 
and troubles of a foolish perverse hairbrained world how are you? 
I long to hear from you, respecting your circumstances and avoca- 
tion, your health and place of abode. 

How does Fedralism go on in your State? does the people know 
the meaning of the word Fedralism, it is a very pretty word, it has 
a beautiful sound, it charms all the learned, the wise, the polite, 
the reputable, the honorable, and virtuous, and all that are not 
caught with the alurements of its melody, are poor ignorant asses, 

nasty dirty ; reserved for future treatment agreeable 

to their demerrit. 

my dear Cousin, lay aside all malice, and every weight of preju- 
dice, divest yourself of every spark of party fire, and let me know 
some of your rotated political tricks, and the reverberated flings of 
your parties, what is George B: and Jonathan about; what is Bob 
Morris and Go vernier about with all their polished instruments? 
I hardly think they are idle, the whole American world is in an 
uproar, there is nothing too mean dirty and infamous for the most 
worthy personages to carry on the sound, which carries away the 

1 Dimitri Kalergis (1803-1867). 


people any where to obtain Fedralism whose happiness and felic- 
ity can not be compared to any state below heaven itself. 

I am warmly solicited to hold a pole next Election for a Seat in 
the Assembly, perhaps you are a stranger to the term hold the pole, 
of which I will inform you, viz: the Candidate stands upon an emi- 
nence close to the Avenue thro which the people pass to give in their 
votes, viva voce, or by outcry, there the Candidates stand ready 
to beg, pray, and solicit the peoples votes in opposition to their 
Competitors, and the poor wretched people are much difficulted by 
the prayers and threats of those Competitors, exactly similar to 
the Election of the corrupt and infamous House of Commons in 
England, at the last Election I was drag'd from my lodging when 
at dinner, and forced upon the eminence purely against my will, 
but I soon disappeared and returned to my repast; and as soon as 
they lost sight of me they quit voting for me. Such is the pitifull 
and lowliv'd manner all the elected officers of Government come 
into posts of honour and profit in Virginia, by stooping into the dirt 
that they may ride the poor people; and would you have your Uncle 
to divest liimself of every principle of honour to obtain a disagreeable 
office I hope not. 

my family was much afflicted with sickness the fore part of winter, 
a young man a Shoemaker who lived with us and our son George 
were long sick but recovered, and your Cousin Lydia Jury was 
long sick and died about the twentieth of January, much regretted. 
She was an agreeable member of our family since we came to Vir- 

We are all well at presant and unite in our love to you. Pray write 
me by every opportunity, and let me know how my little affairs in 
your hands stands. 

from your affectionate Uncle 

David Thomas. 1 

March 3d 1789. 

Remarks were made during the meeting by Messrs. Brad- 
ford, Green, Rhodes, Rantoul, and T. L. Livermore. 

1 The letter is addressed to Mr. Evans, Philadelphia, "To the Care of Mr. 
Jesse Evans." 






James McKellar Bugbee was born in Perry, Maine, — 
a town on Passamaquoddy Bay at nearly the most eastern 
point of the United States, — on December 17, 1837. He was 
a direct descendant in the seventh generation from Edward 
Bugby, who came to America in the year 1634, in the ship 
" Francis," from Ipswich, England, with his wife Rebecca and 
a young daughter; and settled in Roxbury. James's father, 
William Bugbee, was a native of Perry. His mother, Debo- 
rah Bowker, by her maiden name, was a daughter of Betsey 
(Watts) Bowker, of Machias, who was a sister of Hannah 
Weston, one of the heroines of the Revolution. His mother 
first married James McKellar, a Scotch school teacher. After 
his death she married Mr. Bugbee, who, with somewhat un- 
usual complaisance, permitted her to name her first-born son 
after her first husband. 

William Bugbee was a farmer. Although a man of limited 
education, he was gifted with strong common sense and was 
prominent in town affairs. By industry and thrift he accumu- 
lated what was for the time and region a considerable property. 
The country was sparsely settled, and neighbors were few and 
distant. Within a radius of five miles there were not more 
than six families. The church, of which Mr. Bugbee was a 
deacon, was seven miles from his house, but was regularly at- 
tended by the family every Sunday; and the school house where 
James began his education at the age of four years was half a 
mile from any other building. He had no other schooling, up 
to the age of fifteen, than was to be obtained in the short winter 
terms of that district school. His mother died when he was 


seven years old. A year or two later his father married again, 
but died when James was fifteen. 

Soon after his father's death he came to Massachusetts, and 
for about three years had the benefit of attendance at a gram- 
mar school in a town near Boston. That ended his schooling, 
and already he had begun to earn his living in a business house 
dealing in French millinery on Milk Street, Boston, by which 
he was shortly promoted to be entry clerk. When not more 
than eight or ten years old, he had been regarded by his fellows 
in the district school in Perry, and also by his teachers, as 
something of a prodigy in arithmetic, and his aptness at figures 
now stood him in good stead. Moreover, he had already ac- 
quired a taste for reading, and his self-education was of a kind 
to fit him for the work which he was later to undertake and ac- 
complish. He had the good fortune, at this time, to attract 
the attention of William F. Poole, the librarian of the Athe- 
naeum, who procured for him a right to the use of the library 
on the share of one of the proprietors, and young Bugbee passed 
most of his spare time in the library or in reading books pro- 
cured from it in his little room on Court Street, near the Revere 

It happened that most of the lodgers in the house were news- 
paper reporters, whose perhaps somewhat ostentatious familiar- 
ity with public men and public questions dazzled the young 
entry clerk and inspired him with a longing for a literary career. 
The opportunity came for him in 1858, when he was a little 
more than twenty years old. He was offered a position as 
local news reporter for the Boston Daily Courier. Although 
without the least training for such work, he accepted the posi- 
tion, and entered upon its duties in "Anniversary week," then 
the busiest season of the year for Boston reporters. In a brief 
autobiographical sketch which Mr. Bugbee left, he records his 
first experience at earning money by his pen otherwise than 
as an entry clerk: 

"I fully expected to be dropped at the end of my first week; 
but on going to the counting room with a sealed note from the 
editor, I was paid twelve dollars, and was told that that was 
to be my weekly compensation until further orders. My sat- 
isfaction was tempered by the thought that, in two or three 
weeks, my ignorance would be- more fully exposed and I should 


be set adrift. When I thanked the editor for his extraordinary 
liberality, and expressed doubt of my ability to succeed, he 
smiled good-naturedly and said : ' Oh, you '11 come out all right 
if you don't get discouraged. You 've got the stuff in you for 
a reporter.' And as I was retiring, with a glow at my heart, 
he added: 'Don't write "will" for "shall" or "was" for "were" 
any oftener than you can help.' This cast me into the slough 
of despond again, and I imagined that the compositors were 
amusing themselves over my edited reports. I found later 
that my slips in grammar were not much worse than those of 
contributors higher up." 

However that may have been, an apprenticeship in journal- 
ism with the Boston Courier of those times was the next best 
thing to a liberal education. George Lunt was its editor and 
George S. Hillard was one of its leader writers. Professor Fel- 
ton, of Harvard, was a frequent contributor. The Courier was 
the organ of the "silk-stocking Whigs" and was a model of 
dignity, propriety and good English. But it was moribund. 
Its old-time constituency had already become greatly dimin- 
ished by desertion, for the Republican party had arisen and had 
become powerful, and the Courier was radically conservative. 
In i860 it supported the melancholy candidacy of Bell and 
Everett, and after the Civil War began, its sympathy with the 
Union cause was so mildly expressed or so discreetly withheld 
that it lost even the little favor it had retained until then. 
Bugbee had been promoted to be city editor; what that meant 
for such a paper as the Courier may be inferred from the fact 
that his authority was limited to the control of a single reporter. 

In the latter part of the year 1862 Mayor Wightman, with 
whom Bugbee was personally unacquainted, sent for him and 
asked him to take the place, newly established, of Mayor's 
clerk. He accepted the position and then began a connection 
with the city government of Boston which was to continue for 
many years. He nevertheless still contributed dramatic and 
musical notices to the Courier, although ceasing to be city 
editor. Mayor Wightman was defeated in 1862 by Mayor 
Lincoln, who retained the services of Mr. Bugbee. 

The office of Mayor's clerk during the Civil War was no 
sinecure. The regular office hours were long and there was need 
of much overtime work. Aside from the ordinary duties of revis- 


ing the Mayor's manuscript, — and Mr. Lincoln was accus- 
tomed to write much and very hastily, — the clerk had to 
keep account of all the enlistments in the army that went to 
the credit of the city, and to disburse the money received from 
soldiers in the field to be sent to families, friends or creditors. 
On one occasion he was sent to New York to turn over the 
State and City bounty to those soldiers of the regular army 
who had offered to re-enlist to the credit of Boston's quota. 
They were to receive $450 each. Bugbee carried the money, 
about $30,000, in a hand satchel. When in New York he dis- 
covered that there were some soldiers at Fort Lafayette who 
would re-enlist on the same terms. Accordingly he telegraphed 
to the Mayor for more money. The Mayer for reply directed 
him to call upon the President of the Bank of North America. 
Upon presenting himself at the bank with his telegraphic order 
for funds, he discovered that no limit was placed upon the 
amount he was authorized to draw. 

In 1866 he was elected Clerk of Committees of the Boston 
City Council. That position is one peculiar to Boston. Mr. 
Bugbee was clerk of all committees, both of the aldermen and 
of the common council. It fell to his duty not merely to keep a 
record of what was done, but practically to write all reports, 
orders and ordinances that needed to be prepared, and to edit 
and put in proper form what was written by others. It was a 
position that gave great opportunities. It forced the clerk to 
be thoroughly familiar with every branch and every detail of 
the city business, and made him increasingly useful as a source 
of information and advice the longer he retained the office. It 
also gave him immense influence over the decisions of the city 
government. It is not too much to say that during the ten 
years that Mr. Bugbee filled the position his real though in- 
directly exercised authority was greater than that of any other 
person at City Hall, excepting the Mayor only. How well he 
exercised that power is known by but few persons. What 
might such a position be to a corrupt person, in these days of 
municipal graft! Bugbee had the tact to see that it was the 
part of wisdom to refuse to accept any favors, however small 
or well meant, from any person in the city government, or 
from any one who was interested in any job connected with 
the city. By steadily adhering to that principle he succeeded 


in gaining and in retaining the respect and confidence of all, 
both within and without City Hall. 

He was much more than a clerk. The problems of municipal 
government interested him. He studied the systems in other 
cities of this country and of Europe and exerted himself to 
secure the adoption of improved methods. He particularly dis- 
cerned the corrupting influence of government by committees, 
and it was through his efforts that the system was introduced 
of placing the business departments under the control of com- 
missions nominated by the Mayor and approved by the Coun- 
cil. The plans for the transfer of the Health, Police, Fire and 
Water departments to such commissions originated with him 
and were formulated by him. He would even then have pre- 
ferred the system of a single responsible head, but that was some- 
thing that neither the City Council nor the General Court would 
have sanctioned. He expressed his full thought in the report 
which he wrote in 1884, as a member of the commission on the 
revision of the city charter; in a paper which he read before 
the Social Science Association, in 1880; and in the monograph 
on the City Government of Boston, in the fifth series of the 
Johns Hopkins University Studies. 

Mr. Bugbee was brought into very close relations with the 
late Henry L. Pierce, even before Mr. Pierce was elected Mayor, 
in 1872. When Mr. Pierce was elected a member of Congress 
he asked Mr. Bugbee to be his private secretary. The offer 
was repeated two years later, and in 1875 Mr. Bugbee resigned 
his position at the City Hall and went to Washington, where 
he remained during the two years of Mr. Pierce's term. In 
December, 1877, Mr. Pierce was again elected Mayor, and Mr. 
Bugbee served as his clerk, returning to the post which he had 
quitted twelve years before. He served for a short time as a 
police commissioner, and this was followed by a two years' 
service in the General Court as one of the members from Boston. 
As a member of the committee of 1881 he assisted in the re- 
vision of the public statutes. In July, 1884, he was appointed 
by the Governor a member of the commission to prepare and 
administer rules relating to the civil service of the State and the 
municipalities, and was the chairman of the commission. At 
the expiration of his term, in 1886, he declined reappointment, 
and his long period of service to city and State came to an end. 


Thereafter, and indeed a little before that time, Bugbee's 
activities were connected with private business. He was for 
three years, 1881-1884, a partner in a house of publishers of 
law books; for some years, beginning in 1887, the Treasurer 
and General Manager of the Boston Post, of which Henry L. 
Pierce was then the principal owner; and in 1890 he became the 
manager of the advertising department of Walter Baker & Co. 

Beside the publications which have been already mentioned, 
Mr. Bugbee found time, in the midst of his engrossing occu- 
pations to write, in 1873, an article for the North American 
Review on " Fires and Fire Departments"; he prepared and de- 
livered an address on "The Origin and Development of Self- 
government in England and the United States"; in 1875 he 
wrote a short account of the Battle of Bunker Hill, which was 
illustrated and printed, with a poem by Dr. Holmes; in 1880 
he wrote the chapter on "Boston under the Mayors" for the 
Memorial History of Boston; and at various times he contrib- 
uted to the Round Table, the Galaxy, Our Young Folks, and 
the Atlantic Monthly. 

Mr. Bugbee was elected a member of the Massachusetts 
Historical Society at the November meeting in 1882. In the 
early years of his membership he was a frequent attendant at 
the meetings, and served on several committees, including that 
on the committee to publish the letter-books of Judge Sewall. 
His chief contributions to the Proceedings, aside from histori- 
cal letters and documents, were memoirs of three men whom 
he had known well, from his connection with the city govern- 
ment: Mayors Samuel C. Cobb and Henry L. Pierce, and the 
veteran City Clerk, Samuel F. McCleary. During the last 
ten years his health, which was never very firm at any period 
in his life, prevented his active participation in our meetings. 

Mr. Bugbee married, May 27, 1895, Marion C. White, 
daughter of Joseph Warren and Susan (Metcalf) White, born 
in Washington, D. C, December 22, 1868. They had three 
sons: James Marion, born April 14, 1896, Percy and Harold, 
born September 5, 1898. 

We have before us a conspicuous example of what a man who 
has received no advantages over the poorest of his fellows can 
make of himself. Here was a country boy, born and reared 
almost in a wilderness until he had reached an age when those 



who inherit opportunities are nearly fitted for college, having 
then no more education than was to be obtained by an annual 
term of a few weeks in winter at a dame's school, and for three 
years thereafter in an ordinary suburban grammar school. 
That was the end of his school education. Yet so well did he 
apply his studious mind to self-education that the work at 
which he set himself, the work which he did admirably well, 
for which he deserves the grateful remembrance of all who strive 
for higher ideals in the public service, was distinctively literary 
in character. He became an intelligent and capable critic and 
corrector of the writing of men who had enjoyed a hundred 
times his advantages. He exerted a powerful and permanent 
influence upon the system of municipal government, and pointed 
the way to reforms for which the public is even yet not ready. 
But for his excessive modesty and lack of self-appreciation, he 
might have aspired to much higher positions in public affairs 
than the comparatively humble ones to which his earnest, 
sincere, upright and loyal life-labors were devoted. 



THE Annual Meeting was held on Thursday, the 10th 
instant, at three o'clock, p.m.; the first Vice-President, 
in the absence of the President, in the chair. 

The record of the last meeting was read and approved; 
and the list of donors to the Library during the last month 
was read by the Librarian. 

The Cabinet-Keeper reported the gift of a bas-relief, in 
plaster, of the late Charles Gordon Greene, by Roger N. 
Burnham, of Boston, in 1909, from Dr. Charles Greene Cum- 
ston; of a bronze medallion of Worthington C. Ford, made by 
Theodore Spicer-Simson in 191 1, from Mrs. Roswell Skeel, Jr.; 
of a bronze medal struck upon the elevation of Rt. Rev. 
William H. O'Connell to the Cardinalate, from Cardinal 
O'Connell; of a medal of New York City Hall, and several 
coins and store-cards, from Mr. Norcross; and of an old table, 
the bequest of Mrs. Caroline H. Dall, marked as follows: 

This table was brought to this country in 1636, by John Crocker 
of Scituate, carried to Barnstable in 1639, and bequeathed to Job 
Crocker in 1680. It stood in one house, built of timber and adobe, 
from 1639 to 1870, when it was purchased by Dr. D. F. Lincoln. 

In the absence of the Editor, the Vice-President reported 
the receipt of a collection of manuscripts from Albert Thorn- 
dike, found among the papers of his father, the late S. Lothrop 
Thorndike, a Resident Member of the Society. Among them 
are a few papers and memoranda of Hon. John Davis, of 
Plymouth; and a number of letters relating to the missionary 
work among the Indians of Martha's Vineyard and Mashpee, 
1 79 1 to 1808. Of the latter, four papers, 1 791-1798, relate to 
the Gay Head Indians, including a letter of Benjamin Way, 
Governor of the New England Company in London about the 


Company's farm on the island in charge of the Society in Bos- 
ton for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Indians and 
others in North America, also a list of the Indian children at 
Gay Head on May 14, 1798, under eighteen years of age. 
The letters of special interest in the collection are those, 
written to the Society for Propagating the Gospel by Rev. 
Gideon Hawley, missionary for the Society at Mashpee, from 
1805 to his death in 1807, giving an account of his labors 
there. 1 

Mr. Sanborn presented a photographic copy of a letter 
written by John Brown to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 
dated at Charlestown, Virginia, November 4, 1859, sending a 
message to Mrs. Brown. 

The Vice-President then said: 

The marble bust of Rev. John Pierce, with the pedestal, 
now presented, is given by his granddaughters, Miss Agnes 
Blake Poor, Miss Lucy Tappan Poor and Mrs. Alfred D. 
Chandler. It was made by Thomas A. Carew, a Boston 
sculptor, and is probably a replica of the one given to Harvard 
College in June, 1850, by the friends of the Brookline minister, 
in memory of him as a graduate of the College and as Secretary 
of the Board of Overseers from 18 16 to 1849. The Corporation 
records contain a communication from them with a subscrip- 
tion list to the amount of $450, dated June 6, 1850, and an 
acknowledgment of its receipt by President Jared Sparks, 
dated July 2, 1850. Of this bust, now in Memorial Hall, our 
associate and benefactor, the late John Langdon Sibley, 
in his Diary writes as follows : 

June 1, Saturday. To-day was brought and placed in the College 
Library a bust of Rev. John Pierce, of Brookline, with its pedestal. 
It has been made since the Doctor's decease from a painting and 
daguerreotype, and is a good likeness, though the artist never saw 
him but once and then in the pulpit. To some, however, it is possi- 
ble that the breadth of the shoulders may not give a correct idea of 
the great breadth of the original. The work was by Carew, a 
stonecutter, who also made the bust of Rev. John Pierpont, which 
was given to the library by Dr. Buckingham. 

1 The Society already possessed a large collection of Gideon Hawley MSS., 
a part of which was given by Samuel S. Shaw. 

1913.] DR. JOHN PIERCE. 381 

The granddaughters of Dr. Pierce also give four volumes in 
folio kept by him, giving his "Salary" from February 1, 1798 
to 1849, hi s "Expenses" from 1802 to August 18, 1849, an< ^ 
" Presents" received by him during the same period, all of 
which are kept with the closest attention to detail and are 
models of accuracy. 

Dr. Pierce was born in Dorchester, on July 14, 1773, gradu- 
ated from Harvard University in the class of 1793, and died 
in Brookline on August 24, 1849. He was ordained pastor 
of the First Congregational Church in Brookline, on March 15, 
1797, where his pastorate continued for more than half a 
century. He was elected a Resident Member of this So- 
ciety on January 31, 1809, and at the end of a member- 
ship of more than forty years, he expressed his affection 
toward the Society by providing in his will for the gift of 
his " Memoirs," in eighteen volumes, beginning in 1803. 
These "Memoirs," received in 1858, after the death of his 
widow, written with the greatest care, contain, according to 
his own entry at the beginning, "transcripts of my opinions 
and feelings at the times when they were penned, written," 
as he says, "calamo currente" and about various public 
occasions when he was present, such as ordinations, instal- 
lations, conventions, anniversary occasions, dedications, exhi- 
bitions, commencements, and Phi Beta Kappa, at Cambridge, 
giving occasionally obituary notices and accounts of extraordi- 
nary events. 

Dr. Pierce, in the early part of the century, was a good type 
of a Congregational minister. A pastorate then covered a 
long period, generally a lifetime, and there was little change in 
ministerial settlements. Ordinations and installations were 
events of great concern not only in church affairs but in town 
matters; and Dr. Pierce's Memoirs contain many interest- 
ing entries. They reflect the theological sentiments of the com- 
munity quite as clearly as Judge Sewall's Diary gives the social 
gossip of his day. He attended sixty-three Commencements 
at College, and for fifty-four consecutive years, with one excep- 
tion, he "set the tune" of St. Martin's to the hymn, at the 

Among my early college recollections is Dr. Pierce in the 
pulpit of the chapel, where occasionally he used to preach in 


exchange with Dr. Francis, or Dr. Noyes. With his long white 
hair and dignified appearance, he had all the bearing of a typical 
minister of a former generation. He was born before the Revo- 
lution, and bore well his part as a connecting link between two 
centuries. I heard him on the last time he led the singing at 
the Commencement dinner, in 1848. On Commencement day, 
1849, owing to the inability of Dr. Pierce to attend, Mr. Sibley, 
at the request of a committee of the Corporation, took his 
place in setting St. Martin's tune, and continued to hold it for 
thirty-four consecutive years. 

This Library is a fitting resting place for the gifts which come 
now as valuable companion pieces to Dr. Pierce's remarkable 
collection of Memoirs. 

Reginald Heber Fitz, of Boston, was elected a Resident 
Member of the Society. 

The Vice-President remarked that, by the election of Dr. Fitz, 
the membership of the Society is now full, for the fourth time 
in seventeen months; and that before the December Meeting, 
191 1, this condition of membership had not existed for a long 
period of time. 

Mr. Winthrop, Senior Member-at-Large of the Council, 
read the following 

Report of the Council. 

It is not often that the President is absent from the annual 
meeting, and Mr. Adams has been faithful to the duties of 
his office. Receiving an invitation from the University of 
Oxford to deliver four lectures on the Civil War, he is now 
in England upon that mission. He has been President for 
eighteen years, and in that time has missed five of the annual 

The changes in membership in the last twelve months have 
been as follows: 


Resident Members. 

1882, James McKellar Bugbee Feb. 8, 1913. 

1886, William Watson Goodwin June 6, 1912. 



Resident Members. 

John Spencer Bassett May 9, 1912. 

Malcolm Storer . June 13, 191 2. 

Edwin Francis Gay Dec. 12, 1912. 

Corresponding Members. 
William MacDonald May 9, 1912. 

In the death of Alfred Baylies Page, the Society has lost a 
faithful and industrious assistant, who served it for nearly 
twenty-nine years in a number of capacities. His special in- 
terest was bibliography of Massachusetts colonial imprints, 
in which line he made not a few discoveries as well as solved 
doubtful points in issues of the press before 1700. 

The Society published in November its edition of Bradford's 
History of Plymouth Plantation, in two volumes. No expense 
was spared in looking for material or in assuring a publication 
that should fittingly perpetuate this earliest full record of an 
English settlement in New England. The result has been gen- 
erally accepted with praise, and there is every reason to believe 
that this will in fact be the "final word" on text, illustrations 
and explanations of the history of the early colonization of 
New England, a storehouse of information. The Winthrop 
volumes will follow the same general plan. 

The volume of Proceedings, volume XLV in the series, con- 
tains the usual amount and variety of contributions. To con- 
fine the pages to original contributions would not be advisable, 
as it is difficult to obtain such contributions in needed number 
and subject. The absence of contributions by members who 
are connected with the history departments in the leading 
educational institutions in the State is noticeable. Actively 
engaged in the teaching of history and presumably conducting 
research work, it is regrettable that they do not offer for publi- 
cation some results of their investigation. 

The Society has a resident membership of one hundred 
members; the average attendance at the meetings for the past 
five years has been thirty- two. With nine meetings a year there 
is opportunity for at least twenty-five contributions in the form 
of original papers. This number has in some years been ex- 


ceeded, but as not infrequently happens the papers are not of a 
nature to warrant publication, and a selection must be made. 
No rule of selection can be rigidly applied, but the paper should 
be of permanent historical value, based upon original investiga- 
tion, and not of a partisan character. Of such papers the 
studies by Mr. Adams on the diplomacy of the Civil War may 
be mentioned as good examples. Intended as studies for a 
larger work, they embody material that has not before been 
published, treated in the true historical spirit. 

The Proceedings is the proper place for printing historical 
documents. The available quantity of such documents is 
practically without limit, and this is true for the earlier as for 
the later periods of the history of state and nation. 

So far as material for the Collections is concerned the Editor 
confesses to an excess. The Society not only possesses a great 
store of manuscript material which should be printed, but is 
made the keeper of other manuscript collections, with full 
authority to use them as may best advance the purposes of 
history. As an instance among its own collections the Picker- 
ing papers may be named. Though used by many investiga- 
tors, they yet possess sufficient unused material to justify a 
full publication. Of the Winthrop collection only one-third 
has been printed, and what remains in manuscript is of great 
historical value not only to the history of Massachusetts, but 
to that of Connecticut, New York and New England. Such 
material should be printed; for as manuscript it remains 
unknown, and without an index of any description it is to all 
intents beyond the reach of the student. It is the same with 
the collections deposited with the Society, among which may 
be named the Wolcott-Huntington papers, and those of 
Henry Knox, of Jonathan Russell, of General Jacob Brown 
and of Marcus Morton. It is to be wished that the Society 
will soon be upon such a footing as will permit the printing of 
one volume of such collections each year, and in this manner 
add to the long series of important contributions it has made to 
every period of the history of Massachusetts. These contribu- 
tions are more used every year, as the number of trained stu- 
dents of history increases. 

The record of gifts shows how far the Society is regarded 
as the fit depositary of historical material. The growth is slow, 


but each year adds something which in time will prove of value, 
and every gift suggests others. From the libraries of our late 
members, Prof. Henry W. Haynes and Rev. Edward H. Hall, 
a number of books were received, as a rule of general interest, 
and so strengthening the working collection of the Society. 
Such books of reference are needed; but the real strength of 
the Society's library is still to be found in its large number of 
colonial imprints and in books of a curious nature which a pub- 
lic library of a general circulation would not wish and which 
properly fall within our province to collect and preserve. To 
add to these rare and curious issues of the press is under present 
conditions difficult, and the Society depends now, as it always 
has depended, upon the generosity of its members. In acces- 
sions of manuscript material the Society maintains its high 

During the past year the repair and binding of manuscripts 
and early newspapers have continued, and the results fully 
justify the policy and expense. This unique and valuable ma- 
terial is being placed beyond the ordinary dangers attending 
its use, and the latest and best methods are employed to render 
it permanently safe. 

In the last year the Society prepared a memorial to the 
General Court on the publication of the colonial and provin- 
cial archives of the State. A bill based upon the memorial 
was presented in the House of Representatives, by Mr. Frederic 
J. Grady, representative from Dedham, and referred to the 
Committee on Ways and Means. That Committee gave a 
hearing on March 13, at which Governor Long spoke for the 
Society, and Mr. Lefavour and Mr. Floyd also supported the 
measure. Massachusetts alone of the original thirteen States 
has not printed, or is not printing, its archives, the richest of 
all in historical material, and equally valuable for New England, 
New York and Canadian history. There is not a file of the 
printed Journals of the House of Representatives to be found 
in the State, and no part of the papers of the General Court 
has been published. In this respect Massachusetts is decidedly 

It only remains again to state the needs of the Society for 
larger funds. It occupies a field in some respects unique, but 
even in its proper sphere of action it feels the want of a larger 



endowment. The collections now in its keeping impose ex- 
pensive and necessary precautions; it has a valuable reputation 
to sustain; and the mere cost of doing what is essential tends 
to increase. The subject is properly one of general interest; 
for the Society has in the past been supported by the liberality 
of its members, and it must depend upon the same liberality 
in the future. 

Report of the Treasurer. 

In presenting his annual report on the finances of the Society 
Mr. Lord said: 

I desire to submit a brief report of the financial condition of 
the Society, summarizing what is set forth in greater detail in 
the printed report of the Treasurer. 

The property of the Society may be conveniently divided as 
follows : 

First: The land and buildings which stand on the books 
at $97,990.32 and are valued by the City Assessors at 

Second : The Library and Collections which have never been 
appraised or assessed, but whose value at a rough estimate is 
probably in excess of a million dollars; and 

Third: The invested funds of the Society which are carried 
on the books as shown by the investment account at 
$461,854.40, and which have a present market value of ap- 
proximately $536,000. 

Of this sum, the two centenary funds stand at $59,881.40, of 
which amount $55,113.70 is the principal of the Sibley Cen- 
tenary Fund and $4767.70 of the Anonymous Fund. The in- 
come of these funds must be added to the principal until the 
expiration of a hundred years from their receipt, or until, in 
the case of the Sibley Centenary Fund, the year 2002, and, in 
the case of the Anonymous Fund, the year 1991. 

The only gift or legacy received by the Treasurer during 
the past year was the legacy of $1000 under the will of our for- 
mer associate Professor Henry W. Haynes, which was added to 
the General Fund. 

The gross income of the Society from all sources the past 
year was $26,841.81, of which $25,017.10 was the income of the 



invested funds. From this must be deducted the income of the 
two centenary funds, which under the terms of the gift is to be 
added annually to the principal, amounting to $2851.49, and 
leaving a balance applicable to all purposes of $23,990.32. 

Now the ordinary annual expenses of this Society are as 
follows, as appears from the report in detail: 

Care and maintenance of building $2,453.08 

Salaries and wages 12,564.44 

Incidentals 693.92 

Making a total of $15,711.44 

and leaving a balance applicable to the publication of the Pro- 
ceedings and the Collections, and to additions to the Library 
and Cabinet of $8278.88. 

The amount expended for those purposes in 191 2 was 
$8662.22, divided as follows: 

Library and Cabinet $927.12 

Publication of Proceedings and Collections . . . . 7,735- 10 


or $383.34 in excess of the annual income, and which amount 
was charged against the accumulated income of the publica- 
tion funds. 

I again call attention to this condition in order to empha- 
size the need of a substantial addition to the permanent funds 
if the publications are to be carried forward in the manner 
contemplated, and the collections in the Library and Cabinet 
increased by purchases. 


In compliance with the requirements of the By-Laws, Chap- 
ter VII, Article 2, the Treasurer respectfully submits his 
Annual Report, made up to March 31, 19 13. 

The special funds now held by the Treasurer are thirty in 
number. The securities held by the Treasurer as investments 
on account of the above mentioned funds are as follows: 





Schedule of Bonds. 

Chicago & West Michigan R. R. Co. 

Chicago & North Michigan R. R. Co. 

Rio Grande Western R. R. Co. 

Cincinnati, Dayton & Ironton R. R. 

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe R. R. 

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe R. R. 

Chicago Jet. & Union Stock Yards 

Oregon Short Line R. R. Co. 

Oregon Short Line R. R. Co. 

Lewiston-Concord Bridge Co. 

Boston & Maine R. R. Co. 

American Tel. & Tel. Co. 

Northern Pacific & Gt. Northern R. R. 

Kansas City Stock Yards Co. 

Long Island R. R. Co. 

New York Central & Hudson River R. R. 

Bangor & Aroostook R. R. Co. 

Detroit, Grand Rapids & Western R. R. 

Fitchburg R. R. Co. 

Kansas City, Clinton & Springfield R. R. 

Lowell, Lawrence & Haverhill St. R. R. 

West End Street Railway Co. 

Washington Water Power Co. 

United Electric Securities 

Blackstone Valley Gas & Elec. Co. 

Western Tel. & Tel. Co. 

Consolidated Gas & Elec.Co.of Baltimore 

Seattle Electric Co. 

New England Cotton Yarn Co. 

Detroit Edison Co. 

U. S. Steel Corporation 

Boston Elevated Railway 

New England Tel. & Tel. Co. 

United Zinc & Chemical Co. 

(with 60 shares pfd., and 60 common) 

















1995 "adjustment" 9,000.00 




















1921 ' 

'joint" 50,000.00 


1913 "convertible" 12,000.00 




























































Par value $347,500.00 


Schedule of Stocks. 

50 Merchants National Bank, Boston $5,000.00 

50 National Bank of Commerce, Boston 5,000.00 

50 National Union Bank, Boston 5,000.00 

50 Second National Bank, Boston 5,000.00 

50 National Shawmut Bank, Boston 5,000.00 

35 Boston & Albany R. R. Co 3,500.00 

25 Old Colony R. R. Co 2,500.00 

25 Fitchburg R. R. Co. Pfd 2,500.00 

150 Chicago Jet. Rys. & Union Stock Yards Co. Pfd 15,000.00 

75 American Smelting & Refining Co. Pfd 7,500.00 

158 Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe R. R. Co. Pfd 15,800.00 

302 Kansas City Stock Yards Co. Pfd 30,200.00 

10 Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co 1,000.00 

6 Boston Real Estate Trust 6,000.00 

5 State Street Exchange 500.00 

120 Pacific Mills 12,000.00 

52 Puget Sound Traction Light and Power Co. Pfd 5,200.00 

5 " " " " " " " Common . . 500.00 

1218 Shares Par value $127,200.00 

Schedule of Notes Receivable. 
G. St. L. Abbott, Trustee, Mortgage 6% $6,000.00 

Schedule of Savings Bank Books. 

M. A. Parker Fund $1,078.71 

Brattle St. Church Model Fund 187.71 



Bonds, par value $347,500.00 

Stocks, par value 127,200.00 

Note receivable -i 6,000.00 

Savings Bank Books 1,266.42 


Represented by Balance, Investment account $461,854.40 

The balance sheet follows and shows the present condition 
of the several accounts: 


Balance Sheet, March 31, 1913. 

Investment Account, Funds, Exhibit III ... $424,460.10 

Exhibit I $461,854.40 Accumulated Income of 

Real Estate 97,990.32 Funds, Exhibit IV . . 46,359-77 

Cash on hand Exhibit II . 8,965.47 Building Fund 72,990.32 

Ellis House 25,000.00 

$568,810.19 $568,810.19 


Investment Account. 

Balance March 30, 1912 $464,197.45 

Bought during year: 

$6000 United Electric Securities, Series 31 $6,000.00 

7000 " " " " " 7,000.00 

25 Natl. Shawmut Bank 3,000.00 

3000 United Electric Securities, Series 36 3,000 00 

2000 New England Tel. & Tel. Co , 5%, 1932 . . . 2,000.00 

8000 " " " " " "... 8,080.00 

2 Shares Puget Sound T L. & P. Co., Pfd. . . . 200.00 

8000 Boston Elevated Ry. Co., 5%, 1942 8,000.00 

30 Shares Pacific Mills 3,000.00 

3000 United Electric Securities, Series 23 3,000.00 

Accrued Interest M. A. Parker Savings Bank Book . 39-33 

" " Brattle St. Church Model Bank Book 6.82 

Total Addition 43,326.15 

$5°7>5 2 3-6o 
Securities sold or matured: 

$5000 Maine Central R. R. 45%, 191 2 $5,000.00 

1000 United Electric Securities, Series 30 1,030.00 

7000 Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, 4%, 1921 . . . 7,000.00 

Rights Natl. Shawmut Bank 2,405.79 

3000 United Electric Securities, Series 22 3,060.00 

50 Shares State National Bank 10,000.00 

Rights on 5 shares Puget Sound T. L. & P. Co. 2.00 

Adjustment Kansas City Stock Yards Co. . . 3,020.36 
Paid on account note G. St. L. Abbott Tr. . . 4,000.00 

Sale Fractional Currency 2.25 

4000 Consolidated Gas & Electric Co., Baltimore, 1913 4,000.00 

6000 United Electric Securities, Series 31 6,148.80 

Total Deduction 45,669.20 

Balance, March 31, 1913 $461,854.40 

Decrease during year $2,343.05 



Cash Account. 

Balance on hand, April 1, 191 2 $3,154.27 

Receipts during year to March 31, 19 13: 

Sale Publications $1,652.91 

Royalties, Little, Brown & Co 12.62 

Rebate on express 88 

Income from Investments, net 24,970.95 

Interest on Savings Bank Books 46.15 

" on Bank Balances 153-84 

" from Parkinson & Burr 4.46 

Total Income credited Funds, Exhibit V 26,841.81 

Bequest of Henry W. Haynes 1,000.00 

Securities sold or matured, Exhibit I 45,669.20 

Payments during year to March 31, 1913: 

Investment Account, Securities bought $43,280.00 

Interest, Savings Bank Books, not drawn 46.15 

Total additions, Exhibit I $43,326.15 

Income Account: 

Bindery $1,139.50 

Binding 78.15 

Books, Pamphlets and Manuscripts . . . 486.87 

Cleaning $249.41 

Engineer 1,032.00 

Fuel 628.05 

Furniture 19-25 

Lighting 94.24 

Repairs 239.45 

Supplies ......... 9.70 

Telephone 107.98 

Water 73.00 2,453.08 

Portraits and Medals 362.10 

Postage 152.10 



Proceedings, vol. 45 . . . $1,295.02 
" 46 - - . 815.57 

Illustrations and Reprints . 595-6o 

Bradford's History .... 4,947.63 

Miscellaneous 81.28 7.735- 10 


Librarian's Assistants . . . $4,994.94 

Editor and Assistants . . . 5,830.00 10,824.94 
Stationery 109,